By Kanchele Kanchele
MMD President Felix Mutati has urged Africans to stop being captives when negotiating with investors if the continent is to reap benefits of its resources.
In his key note speech to address the Uganda national ACCA convention where he was guest of honor on Thursday, Mr Mutati said the continent has continued to lag behind in development because the people negotiating for the continent became captives during negotiations.
Mr Mutati who is also ACCA Global Ambassador and global advocacy award winner for the year 2017/18 wondered why the conversations about African resources remain at ‘there’s potential.’
He said governments should address their inadequacies for the continent to start striking better deals.
“If you take for example crude oil, there are some African countries that produce a lot more than our colleagues in the Middle East and if you take the difference between the two it’s huge.
“So where the problem? Is it because we are Africans? You go to Dubai, you go to all these little places you see the difference then you go to another country near us producing more barrels a day and when you see the development it’s just a rumor and they live in Africa,” he said.
He said African are born with a deficit, hence the need to begin to address problem.
Mr Mutati wondered why it is always about the potential weather, Tourism, Agriculture or Energy.
“When people come to invest we are not being fair as Africans in terms of striking a deal that is equitable, that is representative of the interest of the people, most of the time we are captives, believing that the investors are here to help us, they are doing us a favour. I will tell you nobody when it comes to transactions (business) does anybody a favour. Nobody! Favours are only done by God but human beings have a component of being greedy and more so the investors, so all we need is to wake up and do it right as Africans,” he said.
And on the growing presence of the Chinese, Mr Mutati said it is not the Chinese that are to blame, Chinese are useful partners because they represent a win-win situation.
“China is a useful partner and don’t get me wrong. China advocates a win-win situation and all of us know but the thing that we are failing as Africans is the same issue of shifting the blame.
“When you are at a table with China it’s said that it’s a win-win situation but sitting on the opposite end of the table you all can’t win, the other must lose because it’s a negotiation isn’t it? So we shouldn’t blame China for our own inadequacies. We are passing our own inadequacies to China that China is wrong, we are at the table negotiating and when they defeat us we say China is to blame.
“Let us have our own win-win situation. Sometimes let’s also learn to say no to the loans. Let’s show off, When you show off they come for you, when they are coming for you, it means you have greater capacity to negotiate better, But when you go to the table almost crawling begging they will say yes we are wining together when in the actual sense they are winning,” he said.