- Your Excellency, Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, SADC Chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation;
- Your Excellencies, Heads of State and
- Representatives of Heads of State and
- Honourable Ministers present here;
- Your Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence
Tax, SADC Executive Secretary;
- Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and
- All Protocols observed
As we close, I dare say that this Summit has been constructive and progressive towards our shared goals of regional integration and economic cooperation. This Summit’s landmark resolutions are just the impetus we need in our quest to drive the SADC regional integration agenda and address the numerous challenges we face.
I must therefore express my sincere gratitude to
Your Excellencies for sparing time to attend the 41st SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government, here in Lilongwe, Malawi, despite your busy schedules and difficult circumstances surrounding COVID-19 pandemic.
The theme of this year’s Summit, “Bolstering Productive Capacities in the face of COVID-19 Pandemic for Sustained, Inclusive, Economic and Industrial Transformation,” is a call on all of us to respond pragmatically and proactively to the ravaging impacts of COVID-19 on the socioeconomic situation in the Region.
Now is the time. Now is the time for us as a region to rebuild and recapacitate our productive resources. Now is the time for us to fully unleash our peoples’ entrepreneurial capabilities. Now is the time for us to set up production linkages for achieving structural and industrial transformation. Now is the time for us to turn the SADC we want into the SADC we enjoy.
Clearly, the kind of socio-economic transformation we envision cannot be achieved without industrialization. Diversification from raw and unprocessed materials to value added and manufactured products is a must, and the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap is key to making this a reality.
Another key is digitalization, the need for which was ably articulated six days ago in the SADC Public Lecture presented by His Honor Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima, Vice President of the Republic of
Malawi, under the theme: “Promoting Digitalization for Revival of the SADC Industrialization Agenda in the COVID-19 Era.” His timely call for the need to reinvigorate digitalization in the Region for e-commerce and telemedicine must be answered to accelerate our progress towards growth. We must, therefore, ensure the full implementation of such instruments as the SADC Protocol on Transport, Communications and Metrology and the 2001 SADC Declaration on Information,
Communications and Technology (ICT).
There is no better place in the world to get these things done than SADC, because ours is a region that is peaceful, secure, and stable, thanks to our solidarity and vigilance. Instability and insecurity are not only rare here, but are dealt with decisively through the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. In that context, the decision made by this Summit to have the United Republic of Tanzania host the Regional Counter Terrorism Centre under the SADC Regional Counter Terrorism Strategy and
Action Plan is a step in the right direction. That Centre will be yet another demonstration of our resolve to give no room to terrorism and radicalism and to keep our community peaceful.
I must therefore commend His Excellency Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, and Chairperson of the SADC Organ; His Excellency Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana, and Outgoing Chairperson of the SADC Organ; and His Excellency Comrade Emmerson Mnangagwa, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, for their vigilance in ensuring sustained peace and security in the Region.
Before I conclude, let me say a word about our Secretariat. The progress we have made thus far on regional integration and the work that lies ahead for us to see it done requires an efficient Secretariat. For this reason, I wish to register our profound gratitude to the Outgoing SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, for the excellent way she steered the institution. You have achieved great milestones during your tenure, including formulating and operationalizing the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap, SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) for 2020-30 and SADC Vision 2050, among others. Given the vast institutional knowledge you have accumulated in the past eight years, I trust you will not hold it against us if we come knocking on your door for counsel. But on behalf of all of us,
I wish you the very best in your future undertakings, and I thank you for your service.
On a positive note, congratulations are in order to Mr. Elias Mpedi Magosi of the Republic of Botswana on his appointment to the position of SADC Executive Secretary. We look forward to working closely with you during our tenure of the SADC’s Chairship and beyond in pursuit of our collective goal of regional integration and the implementation of the 2020-30 Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and SADC Vision 2050. We wish you nothing but success as you steer the Secretariat to fulfil the region’s aspirations and ambitions in socioeconomic spheres.
In conclusion, Your Excellencies and Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, let me reiterate my Government’s commitment to the full implementation of the Summit Decisions towards the creation of a SADC that is peaceful and free, a SADC that is inclusive and united, a SADC that is productive and competitive, a SADC that is industrialized and prosperous, a SADC that is strong and just. Our citizens expect and deserve nothing less.
Long Live SADC
Thank you for your kind attention