WINDHOEK – As Namibia prepares to hand over the Sadc chairpersonship to Tanzania in August, the country feels it has delivered on advocating for the effective operationalisation of the 38th Sadc summit theme of “Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development” in the region.
A bullish International Relations and Cooperation Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said this yesterday while briefing members of the diplomatic corps on various initiatives Namibia engaged in during 2018 through bilateral and multilateral cooperations.
Highlighting the country achievements as the chair of the regional block, Nandi-Ndaitwah told diplomats that since Namibia assumed the chairpersonship in August last year, President Hage Geingob has been advocating for the effective operationalisation of the 38th Sadc summit theme, which is so far contributing to infrastructure development and empowerment of the youth in the region, in order to ensure regional connectivity and economic integration.
“You will recall that when Namibia took over the chairmanship of Sadc, President Geingob stated that ‘during my tenure as chairperson, I will strive to ensure that Sadc remains focused on the promotion of intra-Africa trade’,” Nandi-Ndaitwah, who is also the country deputy prime minister.
Indeed, she said, Sadc has reached a major milestone when the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) entered into force on the 30th of May this year, following the ratification by 25 countries.
“I am pleased to state that the African Continental Free Trade Area was launched on 7 July 2019 in Niamey, Niger, during the 12th Extraordinary Session of the African Union Assembly and is expected to become operational as from 1st of July 2020,” she told the gathering.
She explained that AfCFTA is a flagship project of Agenda 2063, where goods and services will move freely among member states of the African Union (AU), with the objective of boosting intra-African trade.
“With this in place and other regional free trade agreements, the Sadc region is destined to accrue immense benefits that will contribute to the economic growth and development in the region,” she said.
Furthermore, Nandi-Ndaitwah said in March this year, the Sadc Council of Ministers directed the regional block to establish a task force team to facilitate the transformation process of the Sadc Parliamentary Forum into a Sadc parliament.
She said this will be done by carrying out a thorough analysis by engaging and visiting current existing regional parliaments, as a benchmarking, to get a better understanding and appreciation on the transformation process and establishment of a Sadc regional parliament.
Namibia as the current Sadc chair, she further said, was also assigned to benchmark the Pan-African Parliament in South Africa, Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) parliament in Abuja, Nigeria and Asia Inter-Parliament Assembly (Aipa) in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“The second task force team which was part of the benchmarking of the Pan-African Parliament, was assigned to benchmark the East Africa Legislative Assembly (Eala) and the European Parliament,” she said.
She said during the process of benchmarking process, the two task force teams were given by the Sadc Secretariat the benchmarking tools, including the format of the consolidated report.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said the report was already submitted to the Sadc Secretariat and will be part of the Sadc agenda at the Council of Ministers before it is submitted to the 39th Sadc Summit of Heads of State and Government.
“All these efforts are with the full understanding that the proposed transformation of the Sadc Parliamentary Forum into a Sadc parliament requires a robust structure in order to deliver on its mandate and communicate effectively, issues that bring value addition to the regional economic integration,” she said.
Furthermore, Nandi-Ndaitwah says a week ago, the 21st meeting of the Sadc Ministerial Committee of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security took place in Zambia.
“It, among others, noted at the meeting progress made in the implementation of reforms and national dialogue in the Kingdom of Lesotho,” she said.
She said the meeting also commended the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for holding peaceful elections and for remaining peaceful in the post-election period.
Also, she said Namibia participated in the deployment of Sadc Electoral Observation Missions to eSwatini, Madagascar, Malawi and South Africa and is pleased to have declared the elections in these countries as fair and credible.
2019-07-30 07:31:25 20 days ago