WINDHOEK – SADC chairperson President Hage Geingob has promised to promote the SADC Common Agenda to ensure sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development in the region.
Geingob was delivering the closing statement at the 38th SADC Summit with the theme, “Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development,” in Windhoek on Saturday.
Member states of SADC are Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, eSwatini, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Geingob was elected to take over the reins as new SADC chair from Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa. Tanzanian President John Magufuli will take over from Geingob next year in August.
Geingob also promised to promote common political values and maintain democracy, peace, security and stability in the region.
“It is time to deliver. Deliver on the promise of infrastructure development. Deliver on the promise of youth empowerment and deliver the sustainable development that will result in the uplifment of the people of SADC,” asserted Geingob.
He further heaped praise on fellow SADC heads of state and government for their attendance and active participation during the deliberations, ensuring that the summit has been a resounding success.
“Let us maintain the momentum established at this summit. Our decisions must now be turned into actions and our actions must yield positive results for our people,” Geingob urged.
Ten SADC heads of state and government attended the official opening of the historical summit. Others in attendance were former president of Mozambique Joaquim Chisano and Namibia’s former presidents Sam Nujoma and Hifikepunye Pohamba.
Geingob said the summit took stock of the basic principles and policies of SADC and charted a way forward towards the realisation of “our industrialisation and regional integration agenda”.
“All of these milestones have pushed us a step closer to realising our ultimate objective; that of regional integration,” he said. “The summit presented us with an opportunity to evaluate the historic performance of our programmes, in order to inform us in determining effective methods for the implementation of summit decisions in the future,” he added.
He said he is pleased to say that the discussions during the summit were positive and will yield tangible results in the foreseeable future.
“We are aware that our people expect tangible benefits from our organisation,” he said.
“They want to feel the impact of our regional programmes in their daily lives. They want to experience change in their standards of living,” he added.
In this regard, Geingob said it is his conviction that Namibia will continue to promote programmes and projects, as agreed upon by the summit, that are beneficial to the citizens of the SADC region.
“The work of ensuring that we produce results that enhance the standard and quality of life of the peoples of Southern Africa started long ago with gradual progress, as spearheaded by various chairs of SADC,” stated the Namibian head of state. In recent years, he said, industrialisation has been promoted through SADC themes in order to accelerate regional development and improve the living standards of people.
He said in 2017, South Africa presented the 37th SADC Summit theme, “Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains”.
During his tenure, he said, former SADC chair Cyril Ramaphosa led the organisation on the right path of operationalising the 37th SADC Summit theme, with recorded success, especially on regional value chains.
In this connection, Geingob said, he wished to once again thank Ramaphosa for astutely leading the organisation and for ensuring “that we remain committed to the vision and objectives of SADC”. “I am pleased to acknowledge that the summit has endorsed that industrialisation remains the overarching theme and that subsequent themes be aligned to industrialisation to facilitate sustainable implementation, and assessment of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap,” he said.
Geingob said SADC therefore should devise a funding mechanism to ensure effective implementation of the summit themes.
“The themes should also be operationalised beyond one year in order to ensure that we achieve the underlying objective of industrialisation of the SADC region,” he said.
“Peace and security should be maintained in the region in order to create a conducive environment for sustainable development through regional integration.”
Geingob said he’s confident that with the progress reports they have received during the summit, on the political and security developments in the DRC, Lesotho and Madagascar, the region is on course to enter an era of sustained peace and stability.
“By ensuring peace and stability, we are paving the way for the consolidation of infrastructure connectivity and regional economic development,” he said.