Windhoek- Namibia has formally taken over the Chair of SADC Council of Ministers on Monday. The country’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah took over the rotational role her South African counterpart Lindilwe Sisulu.
Speaking at the opening of the Council of Ministers’ Meeting of the 38th SADC Ordinary Summit at Safari Court and Hotel, Nandi-Ndaitwah said Namibia is honoured and delighted to host the annual regional summit.
She thanked Sisulu for her excellent stewardship of the Council, saying she will continue to steer the Council in its journey towards regional integration.
“As Ministers, our task is to assist our Heads of State and Government to make informed decisions. It is therefore, critical that the Council has to make a deep and through analyses on the operations of the organisation in the implementation of the previous Summit decisions. We have also to unpack the theme of the 38th SADC Summit,” she said.
She said the theme of the summit ‘ “Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development” is talking to the SADC’s main focus, namely, Industrialisation of the region as articulated in the SADC Regional Integrated Strategic Development Plan (RISDP).
“It is a hard reality that we cannot industrialise the region or Africa unless we invest on infrastructure development. In order to ensure sustainable Industrialisation and development, we need our own knowledge. To that end, we must invest on our youth through education, skill training and motivate them to be innovative and entrepreneurs. In creating our own pool of knowledge, we will also ensure our region‘s effective participation in the global industrial value chain,” said the Namibian deputy premier.
SADC Common Agenda which comprises of agreed blueprints such as the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (2015-2020), the Regional Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap, the Strategic Indicative Plan of the Organ II and the Regional Infrastructure Development Masterplan.
She added that the theme picks up on the already identified importance of industrialization for the wealth of the region and seeks to strengthen the region’s capacity to realize industrialization and economic change.
“It is a hard reality that we cannot industrialize the region or Africa unless we invest on infrastructure development. In order to ensure sustainable industrialization and development, we need our own knowledge. To that end, we must invest on our youth through education, skill training and motivate them to be innovative and entrepreneurs. In creating our own pool of knowledge, we will also ensure our region ‘s effective participation in the global industrial value chain,” she said
Nandi-Ndaitwah also urged the region to keep in mind that the important role played by the youth.
“The youth are the strength of this nation. They are our future leaders. They bring unique perspectives that we need to take into account when we plan our future destiny.” These words are in line with the SADC Declaration on Youth Development and Empowerment signed in 2014. Although the Declaration Commits Member States to economically empower the youth, there are no clearly defined Action Plan/s that accompanies it.
The Council of Ministers was preceded by the meeting of SADC Standing Committee of Senior Officials on 9 August, at which the Namibian permanent secretary in the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation took over as the chairperson of the regional committee, that was previously held by South Africa.