President Mnangagwa: ‘We must think outside the box’ 

Africa has the weighty responsibility of boldly and decisively tackling the challenges faced by its economies. “We cannot afford to bury our heads in the sand.”


This article is sponsored by UN ECA

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa, opening the Ministerial Session of the ECA’s 56th Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development in Victoria Falls, said, “We must look within and among ourselves for solutions.”  

“We cannot afford to bury our heads in the sand,” the President told delegates. “I, therefore, challenge you to pursue robust and innovative measures to unlock maximum benefits from our natural resources, which essentially starts with the sharing of ideas through deeper collaborations.”

Turning to the theme of the conference – Financing the transition to inclusive green economies in Africa: Imperatives, opportunities, and policy options – the president exhorted Africa to build climate resilient infrastructure to drive green industrialization that is inclusive and sustainable and eradicates poverty while creating jobs.


To this end, he said, climate financing instruments must be leveraged to reap maximum benefits from Africa’s vast natural resources. Finance and economic planning ministers should come up with alternative resource mobilization initiatives that transform economies in line with technological developments to meet climate goals.

“We must think outside the box and trust in our home-grown initiatives,” he said. “This should be complemented by mainstreaming the principle of green economy in policy reforms, regulatory changes and strategic investments.”

However, the President cautioned the ministers to be mindful of the need to take account of the uncertainties and risks associated with future economic growth as they try to replace the conventional economic model with a green economy.

He regretted that global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise as climate change wreaks havoc on nations that are least responsible for the emissions.

President Mnangagwa called on “the Global North to bear their burden and face up to their responsibilities by honouring their commitments”.

Mobilizing resources

While the climate change challenges faced by the continent are immense, they are surmountable. Africa should leverage its vast forest resources to garner more finances for sustainable development, in particular by leveraging growing carbon markets.

“Let us collaborate to mobilize resources for financing our transition towards inclusive green economies,” the President said.

He pointed out that while governments have the mandate to deal with emerging challenges, businesses have the experience, technology and drive to deliver on the solutions Africa needs. Programmes in this regard must be scaled up.

“No matter what difficulties may come our way, we must focus on a people-centred development philosophy that leaves no one and no place behind, one that builds synergies among nations and promotes balanced development across the continent,” the President said.

“Together with unity of purpose, we can indeed build the ‘Africa we want’, brick upon brick, stone upon stone, and step by step.”