SADC nations discuss issues on drought and peace
As leaders met at the 36th Summit of the SADC Heads of State and government in the Swaziland, Mbabane last week, concern was high on the standing issue of Ex-M23 combatants reparations and on the urgent economic issues relating to the peace and prosperity of the region.
Also hot on the agenda was the progress being made with regards to the implementation of the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan and member States were urged to scale up implementation of priority infrastructure projects. Such projects included the the deterioration of the regional food security situation following the 2015/16 agricultural season as witnessed by the extreme EL Nino drought phenomena, which left the region with a cereal deficit of 9 million tonnes, with 39.9 million vulnerable people requiring both food and other humanitarian assistance.
The Summit appealed to the Regional and International Community for continued support to the affected population, in particular to close the gap of US$ 2.5 billion worth of funding needed. The United Nations Secretary General Special Envoy on El Nino, Mrs Mary Robinson, presented to the Heads of States the severe impact of the current drought affecting the region, and appreciated support rendered by the United Nations. Chairperson of SADC, the President of Botswana, Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, was commended for his proactive declaration of a Regional Drought Disaster while launching the SADC Regional Humanitarian Appeal in Gaborone, Botswana in July this year.
A decline in the rates of HIV and AIDS infections has also been noted in the region as the increase of providing mother to child Transmission programmes with coverage for the SADC region at 90% last year. Malaria including malaria-related mortality and Tuberculosis is under substantial reduction in the incidences recorded.
However, progress has been made with the commissioning of power generation projects yielding 1700 Mega-Watts during the year under review, as well as the planned commissioning of power generation projects whose net output amounts to about 4 000 Mega-Watts, which will go a long way in alleviating power shortfalls in the region.
Taking place under the them of “Resource Mobilisation for Investment in Sustainable Energy Infrastructure for an Inclusive SADC Industrialization and of the Prosperity of the Region. King Mswati III was elected as Chairperson and Jacob Zuma, President ofSouth Africa as Deputy Chairperson of SADC. Numerous other African Heads of States attended from Madagascar, Angola, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Angola and Lesotho.
The summit condemned the massacre perpetuated by negative forces in Eastern DRC, particularly the ADF that has grown into a terrorist group posing danger not only to the DRC but also to the whole region , thus requiring concerted peacekeeping efforts.