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Zimbabwe President Mugabe Calls For U.N. Reforms

President Robert Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday called for the reform of the United Nations saying the current situation where five countries dominate the U.N. Security Council should not be allowed to continue.

Mr. Mugabe said this while addressing delegations from over 100 countries, including many heads of states at the on-going Asia-Africa Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The president, who’s co-chairing the summit, said the reform of the United Nations, specifically the elimination of the U.N. Security Council's veto power, which is dominated by permanent members the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China, is essential.

"One of the essential ingredients in doing so will be the strengthening of our unity in continuing to fight for a United Nations that recognizes all its partners as equal partners," the President said.

Commenting, economist Chris Mugaga with the Econometer Global Capital said Zimbabwe has a lot to benefit from the summit, adding Mr. Mugabe should avoid making statements that will please the world but not bring immediate economic benefits to struggling ordinary Zimbabweans.

“Our leaders must try by all means to self-introspect and say what we need as a nation it to make sure that as leaders implement what we promised the nation rather than to please the world,” said Mugaga.

Citing President Mugabe’s recent statements refuting an announcement by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa that civil servants will not receive bonuses in the next two years, Mugaga said the president should avoid making populist statements that do not reflect the country’s economic capacity.

He said such backtracking on agreed issues is what is feared by international investors.

China's leader President Xi Jinping outlined his nation's ambitious strategy to boost economies across Asia and Africa by building infrastructure and striking trade agreements.

In the past month China has outlined its plans for a "New Silk Road" that will invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects such as roads, ports, train links and pipelines across much of Asia, the Middle East and on to Europe.

The so-called, "One Belt, One Road" plan also includes the development of a maritime trade route linking ports in China with those in Africa and the Middle East.

The plan will boost China's already significant economic role in global trade while pledging to connect countries eager to expand their own economies.

The Chinese President said Beijing would further relax tariffs on many imports from developing nations to help boost their economies.

He said "by the end of this year, China will extend zero tariff treatment to 97 percent of tax items from all the less-developed countries that have diplomatic ties with China, and China will continue to provide assistance to developing countries without political conditions."

The president called country's economic plan a "win-win approach" that will encourage trade and investment.

Critics of China's development plans say the country's building projects will not adhere to the same safeguards on human rights and environmental protections as projects funded by institutions like the World Bank.

The United States frequently puts conditions on foreign development aid that call on recipients to improve transparency, fight corruption or make progress on political or social rights.

In his speech to the gathering Wednesday, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo said: "it's imperative that we build a new economic that is more open to emerging economic powers."

Indonesia is one of the 57 countries that applied to join China's new development bank known as the Asia Infrastructure and Investment Bank. Japan and the United States have not joined.

He called for a new economic order that is not dominated by institutions controlled by the United States and China.

The leaders’ summit at the Asia African Conference ends Thursday and is expected to produce a new cooperative framework and bilateral trade agreements. Many of the leaders participating in the summit will also join in a procession in Bandung Friday to commemorate the original 1955 Asia Africa Conference.