Former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa on Thursday urged the 16 member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to cut dependence on foreign donor funding for investment and project implementation.
“Development partners have been helpful. But we tend to depend too much on them,” said Mkapa in his keynote address at a public lecture on deepening integration in SADC.
“We must proactively drop the bucket where we are,” he told his audience at the public lecture jointly organized by the SADC secretariat, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, and UONGOZI Institute, a state-run institute supporting African leaders to attain sustainable development for their nations and for Africa.
He urged SADC governments to raise more revenue for development by strict collection of taxes and pursuing tax evaders, and corrupt people engaging in illicit money transfers across borders and continents.
“Additionally national financial institutions such as pension funds should be encouraged to partner across borders. Not enough attention is given to this prospectus,” observed Mkapa who ruled Tanzania between 1995 and 2005.
He said the second obstacle impeding development and integration in the southern African bloc was ignorance about its mission.
“There is little knowledge by ordinary citizens about the impact of the SADC mission and vision upon their lives,” he said.
Mkapa said like the former Organization of African Unity, now the African Union, SADC was perceived as being owned by the political elites and the national bureaucrats who held annual talk shops.
“More effort needs to explain the goings on in the SADC and to elicit the people’s sense of ownership of their organization,” said Mkapa.
The former leader said it was only by turning around and improving the social economic fortunes of the people that SADC can make a real difference. Enditem