SADC can be a major force: Guibeb

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The Ambassador of Namibia to Germany, Andreas Guibeb, has called for strengthening of regional groupings in Africa such as SADC because they have the ability to collectively develop the African continent and make it a bigger player in global economics and politics.

“There is saying that you can go far along but you can indeed further in unity hence the reason the importance of regional groups such as our SADC which we must continue to strengthen,” said Ambassador Guibeb.

The senior Namibian envoy was speaking at a small farewell event that was hosted by the Ambassador of Zambia to Germany, Anthony Mukwita, on Wednesday.

“There is no problem too big or too small for Africa to resolve as long as we put our heads together in unity to find a lasting solution,” Ambassador Guibeb said.

The SADC group of Ambassadors is regarded to be one of the most organised diplomatic groups in Berlin with its own monthly meetings and events to push the economic diplomacy agenda of the member states.

It also uses the platform to champion other causes of concern for the region such as energy or agriculture development or mere solidarity when it feels that a member state has been wronged, with the mandate from home countries.

With a total population of about 400 million people and an almost US$1 trillion GDP, the group – which comprises Angola, Botswana, Comoros, DRC, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe - is widely seen as an economically progressive regional grouping.

Despite having a regional agenda, the group in Berlin has often included other African countries on the continent. For instance, Nigeria, the continent’s largest economy, was represented at the event by Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar.

Another ambassador the group was bidding farewell to was Calvin Masenyetse from the Kingdom of Lesotho, who hailed his stay in Germany and interaction with colleagues as a milestone in his diplomatic career.

“Balozis (ambassadors), I can safely say this is one of the best moments I have enjoyed in my career as a public servant and like they say in diplomacy we part to meet yet again in another capacity,” said Ambassador Masenyetse.

Others present were the Ambassador of Botswana Masire Mmasegoa Mwamba, a seasoned diplomat who once served as Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth in London; and Ambassador Stone Sizani, a veteran diplomat who represents South Africa and once served as Chief Whip of Parliament.

Ambassador Mukwita said, quoting Shakespeare, that, “To part is such sweet sorrow but we can only work here for as long as our leadership allows until we meet again. The great thing is expanding our horizons and make good friends while on duty abroad.”

The group was, however, cognisant of the threat the outbreak of the new coronavirus pandemic has caused to SADC economies and beyond even in the tranquil of the small circle.

Ambassador Tuggar of Nigeria said, “Diplomacy was rendered void without personal contact among human beings which is essential to the exchange of views-points. In an era of post-truths, social media and now COVID-19, the opportunity to clarify issues and exchange information in real time which is the essence of democracy is threatened when diplomats are unable to meet.”

The farewell was also attended by visiting Namibian Ambassador to France Albertus Aochamub.

The SADC region is largely seen as an economic destination due to its vast natural resources, young population and political stability.

The envoys in Berlin continue to interact mostly remotely due to a lock down as a consequence of spiking new infections of COVID-19 that has claimed millions of lives globally.

This is according to a statement issued by Kellys Kaunda, press secretary at the embassy of Zambia in Berlin, Germany. - Mwebantu

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