South Africans’ hatred for other Africans must become a thing of the past, says its Finance Minister Tito Mboweni.
Speaking during the opening plenary of the 28th World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, Mboweni expressed shock and dismay at the sporadic xenophobic attacks that were perpetuated by his fellow countrymen and women on other African nationals last week.
The latest wave of xenophobic attacks follows flaring up of hostilities between Black South Africans and foreign nationals, which had been occurring periodically since the barbaric 2008 attacks.
“We welcome all Africans who have come to this conference; we welcome all Africans who live in South Africa. We are all Africans. We need to tell our people that what they are doing is wrong! These artificial barriers we have created and the hatred among ourselves must really become a thing of the past,” Mboweni said in a news release issued by the WEF public engagement office following the just-ended Forum.
And responding to a question about the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), Mboweni said if Africa wanted the free movement of goods, it also needed to ensure the free movement of people.
“If free movement is supposed to happen, one cannot be in a position where you allow this person and not the other,” he added.
Mboweni was standing in for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who at the time of the plenary, was at Parliament to address protesters demanding action from the South African government on violence against women.
And Elsie Kanza, Head of Africa at the WEF, said that addressing systemic violence against women was a top priority for the meeting, and she urged all leaders to act against the problem.
Meanwhile, speaking on the issue of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab said the rapid pace of technology required renewed frameworks for cooperation to be developed to deliver an inclusive and sustainable future for Africa.
“Africa cannot afford to be left behind. The Fourth Industrial Revolution can solve many of the issues that came with the first, second and third industrial revolutions. It is a catalyst for Africa to leapfrog into the 21st century,” said Schwab.
The 2019 World Economic Forum on Africa took place September 4-6 in Cape Town, South Africa, under the theme Shaping Inclusive Growth and Shared Futures in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The meeting convened more than 1,000 regional and global leaders from government, business, civil society and academia.