AU STC Meeting: Zimbabwe's Path to Economic Empowerment and Sustainable Development

Martin Mapfumo

 Zimbabwe's participation in the 4th African Union Specialized Technical Committee (STC) meeting on Trade, Tourism, Industry, and Minerals signifies a crucial step towards achieving vision 2030, of becoming an upper middle-income economy.

 The meeting, being held from 13-17 May 2024 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, provides Zimbabwe with a platform to align its policies with continental objectives and foster economic growth, job creation, and sustainable development.

The African Union Commission STCs play a vital role of overseeing policy projects and programs in trade, industry, and mineral resources. By evaluating the implementation of decisions and supervising projects in these areas, the STCs aim to promote an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Africa.

For Zimbabwe, this represents an opportunity to leverage continental cooperation and drive its economic transformation.

Zimbabwe's 2030 vision aims to transform the country into an upper middle-income economy within a decade. However, this goal is achievable with the right policies, strategies, and partnerships in place. By participating in the AU STC meeting, Zimbabwe can access valuable insights, best practices, and support from other African nations.

The African Union Commission STC on Trade, Industry and Minerals is the Policy Organ responsible for oversight on policy projects and programs in the areas of Trade, Industry and Mineral Resources and reporting on them to the Assembly through the Executive Council.

In addition to evaluating the implementation of decisions taken by various Organs of the Union in the areas of Trade, Industry, tourism and Mining, the STC also has the responsibility of supervision and ensuring successful implementation of projects and programs in these four areas.

STCs are thematic Committees answerable to the Executive Council. Each STC is composed of ministers and senior officials of Member States responsible for sectors falling within their respective areas of competence.

Other STC include, Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration; Social Development, Labour and Employment; Health, Population and Drug Control; Defence, Safety and Security; Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment among others.

One of the key objectives of the AU STC is to transform Africa from a raw materials exporter to a producer of market-competitive, value-added products. This transformation requires integration into regional and global value chains, as well as promoting horizontal and vertical diversification anchored in value addition, innovative approaches, and local content development.

For Zimbabwe, this presents an opportunity to shift from reliance on raw material exports to value-added products, thereby increasing revenue, creating jobs, and driving economic growth.

By aligning its policies with continental objectives, Zimbabwe can attract investment, foster innovation, and enhance competitiveness in key sectors such as trade, industry, tourism, and mining.

Furthermore, the AU STC meeting provides Zimbabwe with a platform to address key challenges hindering its economic growth, including infrastructure development, access to finance, and capacity building.

By working collaboratively with other African nations, Zimbabwe can leverage resources, expertise, and best practices to overcome these challenges and accelerate its development trajectory.

Economic empowerment is not only essential for Zimbabwe but for the entire African continent. By reducing dependency on external markets and promoting intra-African trade, Africa can unlock its vast economic potential and achieve sustainable development.

The AU STC meeting represents a collective effort towards economic emancipation, job creation, and poverty reduction. By working together, African nations can create a conducive environment for investment, innovation, and economic growth. This, in turn, will create opportunities for current and future generations, ensuring a prosperous and sustainable future for all Africans.

Africa's economic empowerment requires a paradigm shift from reliance on raw material exports to value addition and industrialization. By producing market-competitive value-added products, Africa can increase its global competitiveness, create jobs, and reduce poverty.

For Zimbabwe, achieving its 2030 vision of becoming an upper middle-income economy requires concerted efforts in trade, industry, tourism, and mining. By participating in the AU STC meeting, Zimbabwe demonstrates its commitment to economic transformation and regional integration.

The AU STC meeting provides Zimbabwe with an opportunity to collaborate with other African nations, leverage continental resources, and drive its economic development agenda. By working together towards a shared vision of an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Africa, Zimbabwe and other African countries can achieve sustainable development and economic empowerment for current and future generations.