By Tatenda Chitagu in Midrand, South Africa

AFRICAN countries should show solidarity and help each other during crises before reaching out to help other non-African States, a top diplomat has said.

Dean of the diplomatic corps in South Africa, Ambassador Bene M’Phoko said before getting help from outside, African countries should help each other.

M’Phoko made the remarks yesterday at a meeting between the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) and ambassadors ahead of the second ordinary session of the Fifth Parliament of PAP.

“As African countries, we should help each other,” he said, referring to the support rendered by the ambassadors’ resident in South Africa and the South African captains of industry to
Cyclone Idai victims in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi.

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The support, worth millions of dollars, was mobilised under the banner of the Food Security Initiative in South Africa.

“Other African States do help other non-African countries, which is fine, but charity begins at home. We are Africans; if one of us gets into problems, we should be willing to help.

But, yes, each country is free and you cannot oblige a sovereign country or dictate to it to help. Those willing to help will help, that is the way it is,” he added.

M’Phoko urged Africa to be pro-active by having a strategy in place for disasters, including an emergency fund for natural disasters other than be responsive during crises.

Cyclone Idai hit Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi last month, killing thousands, displacing millions and rendering hordes homeless, food insecure and desperate.