Kinshasa – Africa needs to be more self-reliant and avoid depending on outside help, Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera told southern African leaders on Wednesday.
“There is no one outside Africa who is coming to build Africa the way we want it to be built,” Chakwera told delegates gathered in the DR Congo capital Kinshasa.
“Not the Americans, not the Europeans, not the Asians.
“For that reason, we must create our own pools of developmental resources,” he argued.
Chakwera, the outgoing head of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), was speaking at the end of his term at the helm of the 16-member southern African bloc.
The theme of the SADC meeting was to discuss how best to develop the natural wealth of African countries.
“We already have the natural and mineral resources,” Chakwera told the conference.
“That should be more than enough to finance any project we need across Africa.”
Chakwera took as an example the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose president, Felix Tshisekedi, takes over the leadership of the SADC.
“The plunder that we have allowed the West to conduct in the DRC is a sin we must repent on, resolve and refuse to see repeated anywhere else in our region,” he said to applause.
“So, let’s show and tell the world with one voice that Africa is open for business but Africa is not for sale.”
Tshisekedi pledged to invest in infrastructure and urged neighbours to do the same.
Member states should step up work on “interconnected projects”, including in communication, in order to rapidly industrialise the wider region, he said.
But Tshisekedi said that would only be possible in an environment of peace, renewing accusations that neighbouring Rwanda had been supporting M23 rebels in the troubled east of his country.
“This summit is happening as our country is victim of a cowardly, barbaric aggression from its neighbour Rwanda,” he said.
A report to the UN Security Council seen this month by AFP said Rwandan troops had been intervening militarily inside the DRC since at least November.
Kigali has repeatedly denied claims it is backing the M23, a primarily Congolese Tutsi rebel group.