SADC a step closer to realising regional integration

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Dr Hage Geingob

At the outset, I would like to thank all of you for bringing this 38th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government to a successful conclusion. This was a Summit at which we took stock of the basic principles and policies of our organisation and charted a way forward towards the realisation of our industrialisation and regional integration agenda. I believe that the 38th SADC Summit achieved milestone objectives, namely:

1.      Reiterating and recommitting to the industrialisation of the SADC region through the development of infrastructure;

2.      The empowerment of the youth in the region through various programmes;

3.      Ensuring that political and security challenges in the region are resolved speedily and through peaceful means.

All of these milestones have pushed us a step closer to realising our ultimate objective; that of regional integration. The Summit presented us with an opportunity to evaluate the historic performance of our programmes, in order to inform us in determining effective methods for the implementation of Summit Decisions in the future. I am pleased to say that the discussions during the Summit were positive and will yield tangible results in the foreseeable future.

We are aware that our people expect tangible benefits from our organisation. They want to feel the impact of our regional programmes in their daily lives. They want to experience change in their standards of living. In this regard, it is my conviction that Namibia will continue to promote programmes and projects, as agreed upon by Summit, that are beneficial to the citizens of the SADC region.

The work of ensuring that we produce results that enhance the standard and quality of life of the peoples of Southern Africa started long ago with gradual progress, as spearheaded by various Chairs of SADC. In recent years, industrialisation has been promoted through SADC themes in order to accelerated regional development and improves the living standards of our people.

In 2017, South Africa presented the 37th SADC Summit theme, “Partnering with the Private Sector in developing Industry and Regional Value Chains”.

During his tenure as Chair of SADC, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa led the organisation in the right path of operationalising the 37th SADC Summit theme, with recorded success, especially on regional value chains. In this connection, I wish to once again, thank President Ramaphosa for astutely leading our organisation and for ensuring that we remain committed to the vision and objectives of SADC.

The 38th SADC Summit adopted the theme, “Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development”, with the view that the region will continue on the path of industrialisation through infrastructure development and youth empowerment.

I am pleased to acknowledge that Summit has endorsed, that industrialisation remains the overarching theme and that subsequent themes be aligned to industrialisation to facilitate sustainable implementation, and assessment of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap.

SADC should, therefore, devise a funding mechanism to ensure effective implementation of the Summit themes. The themes should also be operationalised beyond one year in order to ensure that we achieve the underlying objective of industrialisation of the SADC Region.

Peace and security should be maintained in the region in order to create a conducive environment for sustainable development through regional integration. I am confident that with the progress reports we received during the Summit, on the political and security developments in the DRC, Lesotho and Madagascar, the region is on course to enter an era of sustained peace and stability.

By ensuring peace and stability, we are paving the way for the consolidation of infrastructure connectivity and regional economic development. In this regard, I wish to commend His Excellency João Lourenço, President of the Republic of Angola and outgoing Chair of the Organ, for directing the region’s agenda of peace and security.

As we prepare to bring down the curtain on the 38th SADC Summit, I wish to once again thank the Heads of State and Government of SADC nations, for the honour bestowed upon me, as Chairman of SADC. I will endeavour to promote the SADC Common Agenda to ensure sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development in the region, as well as promote common political values and maintain democracy, peace, security and stability in the region.

Furthermore, I thank you for your attendance and active participation during our deliberations, ensuring that this Summit has been a resounding success. Let us maintain the momentum established at this Summit. Our decisions must now be turned into actions and our actions must yield positive results for our people.

It is time to deliver. Deliver on the promise of infrastructure development. Deliver on the promise of youth empowerment and deliver the sustainable development that will result in the upliftment of the people of SADC.

 I conclude by wishing you safe returns to your respective country I hope you enjoyed your stay in Windhoek and I look forward to seeing you soon again, in the Land of the Brave. I thank you.

• This a closing statement by Namibian President Dr Hage Geingob at the 38th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government on August 18, 2018 in Windhoek. The Namibian leader was elected as Chairperson of the SADC.

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