JIS News

President of Tanzania, His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, has called for a rekindling of the spirit of co-operation and solidarity that existed between African and Caribbean nations in former years to, collectively, deal with the challenges of globalisation.
Speaking at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Kingston, on Thursday (November 26) on the theme, “Africa and the Caribbean in the Age of Globalisation”, President Kikwete bemoaned the integration of African and Caribbean countries into the “globalisation equation”.
He said that this was not by choice and came from a “weakened” position of human and financial resources, as well as the fact that their technical skills and technological capacities were not developed to take advantage of the opportunities of globalisation.
He alluded to the pros and cons of the debates regarding the impact of globalisation, noting that while some scholars contend that it leads to a marginalisation of poor nations, others view it as providing opportunities for growth, income generation and poverty reduction.
He argued that, contingent on the manner in which it is managed, globalisation could be either a force of advantage or disadvantage.
“Africa and the Caribbean cannot benefit equitably from globalisation, if we cannot move faster to correct the huge deficits,” President Kikwete stated.
He said that it was “a matter of urgency” that these countries should align themselves in order to do that.
“It is important to understand that globalisation means that Africa and the Caribbean compete in the same stage for foreign direct investments (FDIs)… markets, skilled manpower, and so on, with the developed nations. It is clear that we will be facing monumental challenges. But, we must face the world as it is, not as how we wish it to be,” he contended.
President Kikwete also voiced his concern over the lack of influence of African and Caribbean states on multilateral institutions governing the global economic, financial and trading architecture.
He said that the dominance of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the affairs of developing countries sometimes undermines their capacity to set and implement their own development priorities. He added that the same could also be said of the European Union’s (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) structures.
“Globalisation has brought global institutions together in their dealings with developing countries, (more) than ever before. One way to deal with this challenge is to unite, work together and fight together for our rightful share of the globalisation cake administered through these institutions,” he asserted.
Noting that alliances in the past focussed on global issues impacting developing countries, President Kikwete said that in the 1960s and 1970s, developing countries were strongly united on many fronts.
“We used various institutions then, like the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the Group of 77 (G77) and China and the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries before it was fragmented” he noted.
However, he said that changes instituted by multilateral institutions have forced these countries to either negotiate in smaller groups, or individually. He lamented that these changes in the strategies for dealing with developing countries, have left them more fragmented.
“We need to appreciate, as a matter of urgency, the fact that our strength lies in our unity. Together we stand and achieve, divided we fall and lose out. We should all endeavour to rekindle the spirit of the past, and forge stronger bonds of co-operation and solidarity through the African Union, Caricom, NAM, G77 and ACP, despite the divisions,” he said.
The President’s address was his last official engagement on his three-day State Visit to Jamaica, along with First Lady, Her Excellency Salma Kikwete. They were presented with gifts by campus Principal and Pro Vice Chancellor, Professor Gordon Shirley. They departed for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Trinidad and Tobago, on Thursday afternoon.

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