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Recession knocking on the door

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By Musa Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-10-Jun-2009

His Majesty King Mswati III says the 13th COMESA Summit came at an opportune time when the whole world is experiencing a devastating economic meltdown.

The King called on the 19 COMESA member States to work closely, harder and smarter to build confidence in the region in order to attract investors and traders from all over the world. He noted that whilst for sometime the challenges of the global financial crisis may have seemed far from developing countries, the reality was that the recession was knocking on the door.

The King was speaking on Monday during the Summit held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Present were, among many, President Robert Mugabe who assumed chairmanship of the organisation, the outgoing chairman Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Zambian President Rupiah Banda and outsted President Marc Ravalomanana, among others. “This might come with great suffering as there will be depression to our economies, which could result in massive job loses due to closure of some companies. FDI will also shrink drastically thus putting pressure on developing countries to come up with strategies to address this phenomenon,” he said.

His Majesty emphasised that COMESA member states should see this as a challenge that spells the need to work together more closely. “For, if we fail to work together, the economic crisis will crush us. In this regard, we need to focus all our efforts and energies on improving trade between our countries and creating jobs in sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure development and tourism,” he said.

Speaking during the same occasion, President Museveni said the time has come for Africans to assert themselves in the scheme of things in the global arena. “As Africans, we have been asleep for a long-time whilst other parts of the world were moving forward. If you look at the millions of Africa’s sons and daughters who are in Europe, the United States of America and Asia, making a huge contribution towards developing those places, you can see that if we can get our house in order we can do much to develop our own,” he said.

President Museveni said time has come for the people of Africa to move forward and not just emphasise issues of sustainable development, but move on to what he termed social transformation. “When a baby is born, it must develop and not just stay as an infant forever. It must crawl, take the first steps and then run. You cannot talk about sustainable development forever, you must talk about transformation,” he said.

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