Cape Town – Zimbabwe's foreign affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi says his country is ready to host the 34th SADC summit to be held in Victoria Falls next month.
The minister, according to video footage posted on YouTube by The Herald, said preparations were on track and "everything will be in place by the time that the summit is held".
A report by the News Day, however, said President Robert Mugabe's cash-strapped government was banking on financial support from the private and corporate sectors to host the summit.
Theme of the summit
The summit which kicks off on 8 August will be held under the theme: SADC Strategy for Economic Transformation: Leveraging the Region’s Diverse Resources for Sustainable Economic and Social Development through Beneficiation and Value Addition.
Mumbengegwi said the theme was selected "very very carefully" because Zimbabwe believed strongly in the importance of beneficiating and value adding of natural resources.
He said Mugabe had never stopped talking about the issue of the importance of natural resources and how Africa, as a continent should benefit from them.
Mumbengegwi decried the continued exportation of Africa's natural resources in their raw form, a situation he said saw the continent benefiting only 10% of the value of the products.
Watch the video below in which Mumbengegwi talks about the theme of the summit
He said the question of value addition was critical not only to Zimbabwe but to the whole of SADC. It was therefore, against this backdrop that Zimbabwe, in consultation of the SADC secretariat, had come up with a theme that sought to address this issue, he said.
"The SADC region is endowed with resources, the same as Africa as a whole... But the paradox is that with such abundance of natural resources, we are poor... Why are we poor? Because we do not get the full benefit of our natural resources," Mumbengegwi says in the video.
The upcoming summit is also set to see Mugabe assume the role SADC chair after he was elected vice chair in August last year.
Watch the video below in which Mumbengegwi talks about Mugabe's role of chair
Mugabe will take over from Peter Mutarika who recently won a tightly contested and controversial presidential election in Malawi.
Mumbengegwi said it was an honour that Zimbabwe, for the next three years would be "playing an important role in the leadership of SADC".
Zimbabwe takes leadership of the block amid recent calls for regional states to unite to restore peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo.