WINDHOEK – Deputy Speaker and Third Vice-President of the Pan-African Parliament, Loide Kasingo, says natural resources in Africa are the root cause of most armed conflicts on the continent.
Kasingo who recently returned from the Fourth Ordinary Session of the Third Pan-African Parliament (PAP) held in South Africa made the contention at a media briefing to highlight the activities that took place at the PAP session.
“Our resources are the cause of these conflicts. The conflicts are there, but the bone of contention is for Africa to solve its problems with its own resources, as I have said earlier, a huge chunk of the African Union budget is funded by outsiders,” said Kasingo.
From 2002 to date, several armed conflicts took place in Algeria, Mali, Tunisia, Mauritania, Niger, Sudan, Nigeria, DRC, South Sudan, Libya, Ivory Coast and Egypt, leaving millions dead and displaced. The basis of most of these wars is the rich natural resources of each of the countries such as oil, diamonds, raw timber and unprocessed ivory
Kasingo is concerned Africa constantly has to rely on foreign aid whenever it suffers conflict. “We are the poorest continent in the world yet we are the richest in terms of resources,” she said.
“When you have resources you find other elements to fight for those resources which eventually negatively influence and bring conflict amongst ourselves,” said the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly.
The exclusion of certain groups of citizens, whether economical or political, also fuels unrest, she said.
“Women are the majority nowadays and the youth are the future, therefore these two should not be excluded in any way when it comes to decision-making,” Kasingo said.
African governments need to relook their legal mechanisms and electoral laws to cater for women, she urged.
She singled out Rwanda, Equatorial Guinea and South Africa for empowering women, adding: “I hope Namibia follows.”
By Mathias Haufiku