'Poverty our big challenge'

KING Goodwill Zwelithini has called for world unity in the fight against poverty.

KING Goodwill Zwelithini has called for world unity in the fight against poverty.

He described poverty as the "biggest challenge" faced by people in the developing world.

The Zulu monarch was speaking at KwaKhangel'amankengane Palace in Nongoma yesterday during a visit by Dr Mark Finley, vice-president of the Seventh-Day Adventist World Church, from Washington DC.

Finley is in KwaZulu-Natal as part of his church's mission to invest and look for business opportunities in the province. Finley said his church has a presence in more than 200 countries worldwide.

"Poverty is the biggest challenge that all people in developing countries face," said Zwelithini.

"Every place we are, we want to educate children. We want to establish hospitals so that children, men and women can be cured."

Finley said: "My initial visit to KwaZulu-Natal is aimed at developing relations with the provincial government and His Majesty."

He promised to work with all to uplift the poor, to assist orphans and to bring hope to the most vulnerable members of the community.

The king added that despite there being a large resource base in Africa in terms of good soil, rainfall, minerals and many other natural features, the continent remained poor.

"This has to change," he said.

Zwelithini said if many people on the continent acquired skills, "surely we can speed up economic development and defeat poverty in the process.

"Africa and South Africa do not need handouts, that time is gone," he added.

Premier Zweli Mkhize thanked the church for allowing Finley to make "a whistle-stop tour of KwaZulu-Natal" and said he hoped that Finley's message of "hope and love would go a long way in making the province a prosperous one".