Patrick Chitumba in Mangochi, Malawi
AFRICAN countries should develop internal funding mechanisms to steer their development and limit reliance on external borrowing.
Addressing legal practitioners, civil rights organisations and African Parliamentarians attending a week long African Forum and Network on Debt and Development summer school here yesterday, Professor Cephas Lumina, from the University of Fort Hare, South Africa, said lending from institutions such as the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was not sustainable as it was often attached to adoption of certain conditions that do not favour a country’s interests.
“As long as African countries continue subscribing to the international finance houses or institutions, IMF and World Bank, these countries will forever be under the yoke of debt from these institutions.
These institutions have an agenda to make money from Africa and there is therefore a need for Africa to look at alternative means of funding their own development programmes,” he said.
Prof Lumina, who has just released a book titled, “Sovereign Debt and Human Rights” published by Oxford University Press, was presenting a paper on, “Sovereign Debt: Linkages and Impacts on Human Rights and Inequality.
He said Zimbabwe, for example, has failed to secure loans from IMF and WB following the successful land reform programme in 2000, which sought to address land ownership imbalances brought by colonisation. The country has since then been slapped with sanctions by the West and its allies.
“After the land reform programme, the American Government signed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera) into law, which derails economic development. The secretary for treasury in the US Government is in the World Bank and has the power to veto any lending to Zimbabwe,” said Prof Lumina.
He said international finance institutions have policies that are pushed by stakeholders at the expense of the countries that are supposed to benefit.
Just like many other African countries, he said, Zimbabwe has rich resources such as land, minerals and human resource capital, which he said should be fully utilised for the benefit of its people.
Prof Lumina said Zimbabwe was now fully utilising its land resource by funding communal and commercial farmers through Command Agriculture.
He encouraged African governments to consider alternative sources of funding or financial services for development programmes, which benefit them as opposed to worsening their situation.