President Robert Mugabe has castigated the continued interference by some super powers that are using non-governmental organisations to meddle in internal affairs of African countries.
He was speaking at the first-ever continental economic summit, the African Economic Platform (AEP), which has been officially opened amid calls for Africa to unite and consolidate the values of the OAU founding fathers.
President Mugabe joined several other African heads of states and government, captains of industry and intellectuals at the platform that is seeking to promote economic transformation and integration among African countries.
Addressing the delegates in a plenary session, President Mugabe castigated the continued interference by some super powers that are meddling in Africa through non-governmental organisations.
"…… we have in our systems today so much interference by outsiders sometimes direct but now very commonly through what they call NGOs. NGOs hundreds of them in one country you get numerous, hundreds of them, there is hardly any country, no there is no country in Africa without NGOs none! None, none at all.
"We have not been left to ourselves to do our own things, to develop ourselves indigenously no! We have tried but in spite of these inhibitions sometimes they have come to us by way of sanctions," said President Mugabe.
President Mugabe said despite the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe for embarking on the land reform programme, the country has soldiered on.
"We have had sanctions for more than 15 years imposed on us Zimbabwe for no other reason than the fact that we got our land back from the settlers from the British government. You see, so the resource that we got – which is land! Very crucial has cost us quite a lot. Nevertheless we try our best within SADC," he said.
President Mugabe says African countries are not interacting or freely trading with each other because of various inhibitions.
He says intra-Africa trade is suffering while countries prefer to do business with Britain and the USA which is detrimental to African development.
"Our inhibitions to interact with each other, freely trade with each other have been of the fact that we think in some cases that co-operating with outsiders is not beneficial and co-operating with each other, trading with each other is avoided.
"…..avoided regionally and the consequences are that we don't develop intra-trade within our regions, no! We still want country by country to trade perhaps with Britain and America and so on, that inhibiting our trade," said Cde Mugabe.
President Mugabe said there is need for countries to unite and move together if Africa is to achieve economic development.
"It was thought by our co-founders that if we put ourselves together politically and form a big union we may be able to serve our people better, hence the formation of the OAU which was formed in 1963," he said.
The AEP meeting is a demonstration that Africa is now taking concrete steps towards economic transformation and integration making it imperative for every country on the continent to be part of the process as it takes off.
The summit is focusing on economic transformation and integration on the continent.