At the meeting, chaired by Tanzanian Foreign Minister Palamagamba J.A.M Kabudi, the African and Nordic foreign ministers addressed challenge brought about by climate change and the sustainable development goals; the promotion of peace and security; cooperation in trade, investment; and, service delivery for sustainable development in Africa.
The minister’s participation was aimed at strengthening and consolidating relations between Zimbabwe and the Nordic countries as well as deepening constructive political dialogue with that block and with other African forum member countries.
Dr. Moyo held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Tanzania, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland.
The Honourable Minister paid tribute to the Nordic countries for their various initiatives towards ensuring sustainable peace and security in the Southern Africa region and their continent. He emphasized that realization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) depended on peace and security.
The Minister also noted that Nordic countries’ various initiatives on peace and security were in line with Africa’s “Silencing the Guns by 2020” Agenda.
Acknowledging the long-standing relationship between Zimbabwe and the Nordic countries, the Minister recalled the establishment, by Denmark, of the SADC Regional Peace and Training Centre in Zimbabwe. He further expressed appreciation for the role played by the Danish, though the Lutheran Church in establishing some educational institutions in Zimbabwe.
On the wider question of peace and security on the continent, the Honourable Minister called for the interrogation of the root causes of intra- and inter-State conflicts in Africa. Dr. Moyo also touched on the plight of women and children in conflict, the Minister noted that their vulnerability was such that they were both victims and instruments of conflict at the same time.
Observing that most conflicts in Africa resonated very well with certain foreign interests, the Honourable Minister said that there was need to starve-off funding and arming of conflicts.
He also expressed appreciation for the update given to the meeting by the delegate of the Republic of Somalia, and further commended the efforts made, as well as progress registered in trying to resolve the peace and security situation in that country.
After acknowledging that Africa was richly endowed with a wide array of natural resources, the Minister Moyo lamented state of the continent’s exports which consisted almost entirely of raw products. He cautioned that if that trend was allowed to continue, the development of African countries would remain constrained with women and children remaining hardest hit by poverty.
The Minister bemoaned Africa’s low industrial capacity and the bottlenecks that existed in infrastructure, including road, rail and air transportation, which in turn negatively impacted the development and viability of trade.
Turning to the domestic situation in Zimbabwe, the Honourable Minister appraised the meeting of the political, economic and legislative reforms that the country was undertaking: which included an internal political dialogue; facilitation of the ease of doing business; as well as, the repealing of archaic laws.
On the humanitarian and socio-economic situation in the country, the Minister disclosed that Zimbabwe had been hit by three major shocks, namely: an El Nino-induced drought, Cyclone Idai-induced devastating floods; as well as, the austerity measures undertaken to bring about economic reform.
In conclusion, the Honourable Minister noted that Zimbabwe’s efforts to implement its reform programme and pursue the Sustainable Development Goals were being hampered severely by what he termed the “weapon of mass destruction” in the form of the illegal sanctions imposed on the country. He called on the Nordic countries to use their influence in the European Union to assist in the removal of the sanctions. The Minister took note of progress achieved so far towards the lifting of the sanctions particularly on the part of the EU.
Addressing the gathering during his official opening speech of the 18th Africa-Nordic Foreign Affairs Meeting, Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli called on African countries to tap into their enormous potentials including vast natural resources.
African countries have a lot of resources like human beings and tourist attraction sites, but still are lagging behind their Nordic counterparts, said President Magufuli.
The Africa-Nordic meetings are an opportunity for an open and informal dialogue between African and Nordic countries on a variety of foreign policy and global issues.
During the meeting, the Ministers discussed subjects related to peace and security, investment and trade and unlocking the potential of the youth.
Since its inception in 2001, the African-Nordic Foreign Ministers’ Meetings have proven to be a valuable forum for enhancing the dialogue between African and Nordic countries.
The Dar-es-Salam meeting was attended by 29 African and five Nordic government office-bearers.