Leaders on how to turn SADC into a beacon of shared prosperity
The new SADC Executive Secretary, Elias Magosi this week paid a courtesy call on the SADC Chairperson, President Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi to discuss aspects of regional integration, cooperation and development.
At the meeting held on 21 September, President Chakwera and Magosi made a commitment to take a pragmatic approach to ensure that the SADC region becomes a beacon of shared prosperity through accelerated implementation of the priorities outlined in the Revised SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030 and the SADC Vision 2050.
Chakwera said he was convinced that SADC has all it takes to be a model of shared prosperity in Africa, owing to its vast untapped natural resources, a youthful and large population of over 350 million people and an enviable record of relative peace and security, despite isolated cases of instability in some parts of the region.
He said with the lessons learnt from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on vaccine inequality and Africa’s limited access to vaccines, it has become evident that SADC and Africa as a whole, need to enhance manufacturing and industrial capacities.
On this point, Chakwera said this year’s SADC Summit theme, Bolstering Productive Capacities in the Face of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Inclusive, Sustainable, Economic and Industrial Transformation, is a response and clarion call for SADC to embrace digitisation to industrialize using comparative advantage of Member States on value chains and ultimately, increase the level of SADC intra-regional trade.
With regards to peace and security, which is a foundation for achieving regional integration and sustainable socio-economic development, Chakwera pledged to work closely with the Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, President Cyril Ramaphosa, of South Africa to ensure continued peace and stability in the region.
Magosi thanked the SADC Chairperson for granting him the opportunity to discuss matters of regional importance which, he said, underscores the value the President attaches to the SADC Regional Integration agenda.
He said for SADC to realise the benefits of regional integration, Member States need to sign and ratify relevant protocols and agreements.
Magosi informed the SADC Chairperson that the secretariat will continue to support and facilitate Member States on the signing and ratification of SADC protocols and agreements so that all Member States effectively contribute and benefit from the regional integration and development initiatives.
He also took the opportunity to thank Malawi for being one of the nine Member States that have signed the Agreement establishing the SADC Regional Development Fund, a regional financing mechanism for economic development and sustainable growth to finance regional infrastructure, industrial and social projects.
Magosi said he is committed to the main SADC goal which is to forge regional hegemony out of the many constituent Member States.
In this regard, he committed to actively engage SADC Member States, International Cooperating Partners and other stakeholders to achieve the objectives of the Revised RISDP 2020-2030 and SADC Vision 2050.
The RISDP 2020-2030 is a regional blue print which, amongst others, prioritises regional integration issues of infrastructure development, industrial development and market integration, social and human capital development and other cross cutting issues including environment, climate change, disaster risk management, gender and youth empowerment.
The SADC Vision 2050 envisions a peaceful, inclusive, competitive, middle-to-high income industrialised region, where all citizens enjoy sustainable economic well-being, justice and freedom.
Prior to meeting with the SADC Chairperson, Magosi held discussions with the Chairperson of SADC Council of Ministers, Eisenhower Mkaka, who is the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Malawi.
Mkaka was accompanied by Dr Luckie Sikwese, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Chairperson of the Standing Committee of Senior Officials.
The visit to Malawi by the new SADC Executive Secretary was the first official visit to a SADC Member State since Magosi assumed office on 1 September, following his appointment at the 41st SADC Summit held in Lilongwe, Malawi on 17-18 August.
During his visit to Malawi, Magosi was accompanied by the Director of Policy Planning and Resource Mobilisation at the SADC Secretariat, Dr Mubita Luwabelwa and other officials from the secretariat.
Southern African News Features are produced by the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre based in Harare. www.sardc.net