President Hage Geingob and other regional leaders will today virtually participate in the 40th ordinary SADC summit in response to ongoing public health concerns around hosting large gatherings.
“In view of the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the summit will be conducted virtually with a reduced agenda,” said Presidency spokesperson Alfredo Hengari.
Tanzanian president John Magufuli will hand over the chairmanship to Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique during the summit.
The summit is also expected to deliberate on critical matters within the region.
The political situation in Zimbabwe, which has seen the leadership accused of human rights violations in the last couple of weeks, is likely to be discussed during today’s summit as well.
“Covid-19 has significantly transformed the way we govern, do business and conduct diplomacy – and the virtual summit is ample testimony,” said President Geingob, who chaired the regional body between 2018-2019.
“I have often repeated that the health of our people remains the biggest priority and we should proceed as SADC in a manner that minimises the socio-economic impacts of Covid-19 for citizens in the region.”
Geingob said the summit provides an opportunity for member states to work on resilient processes and systems, as well as for institutions to contain shared and formidable challenges related to the virulent pandemic.
“However, as we focus on the immediate challenge of Covid-19, we should not lose sight of the strategic challenges of peace and security for the region. There is no sustainable development without peace.”