The Southern African Development Community has taken far-reaching decisions aimed at boosting socio-economic development by deepening integration through industrialization and ensuring the maintenance of peace and security in the region.
The measures are contained in a statement issued shortly after the 41st SADC Summit held in Lilongwe, Malawi on Tuesday and Wednesday last week.
As part of its push towards industrialization, the Summit approved the theme “Strengthening productive capacities in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, for an inclusive and sustainable economic and industrial transformation”.
“The theme advances the implementation of the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063 with particular emphasis on strengthening regional productive capacities,” said outgoing Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, who read the press release.
As part of this strategy, SADC aims for more investment and diversification to boost the performance of its manufacturing sector to produce and sell more processed products.
The initial goal is to double the share of manufactured goods that the region produces and sells to 30% of its gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030 and to 40% by 2050.
But to help the region’s growth and development agenda, SADC has said peace and security are the cornerstone.
And to this end, the 41st Summit approved an action plan for the implementation of the Security Threats Report and urged member states to implement the interventions contained in the plan.
The leaders also received an update on the security situation in Cabo Delgado province in the north of the Republic of Mozambique and commended SADC member states for pledging personnel and providing financial support for the deployment of the SADC standby force in Mozambique.
Dr Tax presented the Instruments of Authority for the deployment of the SADC Standby Force to Mozambique on July 16, 2021, which marked a milestone in the regional effort to counter terrorism and violent extremism .
In this regard, Summit noted that an Agreement Amending the SADC Protocol on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials, and an Agreement Regarding the Status of the SADC Standby Force and of its components deployed in the region for training purposes, the peacekeeping operation, exercises and humanitarian aid would be signed by those member states that were ready to do so.
“Some Member States have already signed the agreement at this summit,” said Dr Tax. In line with its objective of ensuring security and peace in the region, the Summit commended the United Republic of Tanzania for offering to host the Regional Counterterrorism Center.
The Center will provide specialized and strategic advisory services to the region on terrorist threats.
Dr Tax said the 41st Summit expressed satisfaction with the progress made in the implementation of SADC decisions in the Kingdom of Lesotho after being briefed by President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, who is the facilitator appointed by SADC.
“The Summit urged the Kingdom of Lesotho to accelerate the completion of ongoing reforms and to continue the process of peace, transitional justice and reconciliation to engender national unity and foster national healing and cohesion,” said Dr Tax.
President Ramaphosa’s term as facilitator has been extended until the 42nd Summit, which will be hosted by the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Zambia was also in the spotlight at the Summit, with leaders congratulating the Zambian people for holding a successful election on August 12 and congratulating HE Hakainde Hichilema on winning the election.
“The Summit thanked His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu for his leadership and contribution to the development and integration of SADC during his tenure as President of Zambia and for nobly accepting the results of the 2021 presidential elections in the Republic from Zambia, ”said Dr Tax.
In a very important decision that expands community participation in SADC, the 41st Summit approved the transformation of the SADC Parliamentary Forum into a SADC Parliament which will be an advisory and deliberative body.
The regional parliament will ensure the representation of the citizens of SADC, thus serving as a valid interlocutor for the needs and desires of the general public.
The executive is already the main engine of regional integration through intergovernmental institutions at the level of senior officials, ministers or heads of state and government.
Turning to other sectors, Dr Tax said the Summit had received reports on a socio-economic overview in the region, regional food and nutrition security, gender and development, HIV and AIDS , and on the implementation of the theme of the 40th Summit.
The theme, “40 Years of SADC, Building Peace and Security, Promoting Development and Resilience in the Face of Global Challenges”, was implemented under the leadership of outgoing SADC President, President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi of Mozambique, who was praised for “his leadership during his tenure. “
Leaders reaffirmed the region’s position on the establishment of the SADC Central Bank and Monetary Union as a long-term goal based on meeting the preconditions, including the harmonization of fiscal and monetary policies. SADC countries and greater convergence of banking systems.
Regarding the African Union (AU), the 41st Summit expressed its concerns and opposed the unilateral decision taken by the African Union Commission in July 2021 to grant the AU the status of observer for the State of Israel.
SADC supported the State of Palestine in its decades-long conflict with Israel and called for respect for the principles of international law and all relevant United Nations resolutions calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the borders of Israel. June 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital in the implementation of the two-state solution.
The SADC 16 Leaders Summit reiterated its call for the unconditional lifting of the sanctions imposed on the Republic of Zimbabwe and its support to Zimbabwe in the ongoing socio-economic strengthening efforts.
At its 39th Summit held in Tanzania, the regional organization declared October 25 “as the date on which SADC member states can collectively voice their disapproval of the sanctions through various activities and platforms until the sanctions are released. be lifted ”.
The Summit elected Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, President of the Republic of Malawi, as President of SADC, and Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo as incoming President.
President Ramaphosa was elected Chairman of the Organ on Political, Defense and Security Cooperation, and Dr Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia, incoming Chairman of the Organ.
The Summit appointed a new SADC Executive Secretary, Elias Mpedi Magosi of Botswana, as the new SADC Executive Secretary.
Magosi replaces Dr Tax who was appointed in 2013 and has fully completed his two four-year terms.
Dr Tax was commended for “serving the Organization in a professional, diligent and competent manner”.
Host President Dr Chakwera described the 41st Summit as “constructive and progressive towards our common goals of regional integration and economic cooperation.
“The historic resolutions of this Summit are the momentum we need to drive SADC’s regional integration agenda and address the many challenges we face,” he said.