More than 800 representatives of world Parliamentarians from 130 countries are gathered in the Russian capital, Moscow, to discuss, among other issues, global peace and security including measures to counter the rise in international terrorism and religious extremism.
In a world that has never really been at peace with itself, lawmakers are now demanding — from their respective governments — lasting solutions to stop the spread of terrorism, drug trafficking and other threats to peace and security.
Zimbabwe has despatched a strong seven-member delegation headed by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Adv Jacob Mudenda, including Hon Kindness Paradza, Chairman of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The conference is a pre-cursor to the Russia-Africa Summit of Heads of State and Government scheduled for Sochi here in Russia this October, where the issue of global peace, security and investment will take centre stage. President Mnangagwa has been invited to this summit and is expected to attend.
There was a chorus among the delegates here that State-sponsored terrorism and other forms of religious extremism aimed at destabilising developing nations such as Libya and Syria were on the rise. It was also observed that Parliaments, by their legislative nature, should play a leading role to ensure sustainable development, international and regional security, fighting poverty and inequality, extremism, drug trafficking, illegal migration, climate change including other challenges and threats to our planet.
Adv Mudenda, who was one of the 50 Speakers of Parliament attending the Conference themed “Development of Parliamentarism” told other delegates that trade and other economic links between Russia and Africa should be a two-way relationship and not a one way traffic in favour of Moscow.
“If anything,” he said, “Africa must avoid the possibility of economic colonisation from its cooperating development partners.” Future agreements and other protocols between Russia and Africa should be domesticated for them to have legal force.
“The Russia-Africa Conference must walk the talk. Protocols and treaties must be crafted speedily in order to harmonise investment and trade links between Russia and Africa bilaterally and multilaterally in the mould of the Cotonou Agreement between the European Union and African Countries,” said Adv Mudenda.
Africa, which has just created the Continental Free Trade Area, is a huge market for Russian investors especially now when the focus is on the 4th stage of industrial revolution through digital economy, with Adv Mudenda urging Russia to approach Africa in the letter and spirit of glasnost (openness).
Said Adv Mudenda: “Accordingly, Russia can come in to provide industrial technology in order to boost African Industrialisation programmes. Similarly, another opportunity for Russia lies in infrastructure development in many African countries.”
Russian Leader Vladimir Putin, who also spoke at the Conference, committed his country to working with individual African countries and as a block and will use the forthcoming Sochi Summit to cement ties with his African colleagues.