Tanzania readies to host 39th SADC summit

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The 39th Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and preceding meetings will take place in Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania from 5-18 August, 2019.

The summit is responsible for the overall policy direction and control of functions of the community, ultimately making it the policy-making institution of SADC.

The SADC Summit is made up of all SADC Heads of States or Government and is managed on a troika system that comprises the current SADC Chairperson, the incoming Chairperson and the immediate previous Chairperson. The ordinary SADC summit usually meets once a year around August or September in a member state of the incoming SADC Chairperson.

The current SADC troika comprises President Hage G. Geingob of Namibia as the Chairperson; his predecessor  President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa as the outgoing Chairperson, President John Joseph Magufuli of Tanzania as the incoming Chairperson.

The troika for the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation comprises  President Edgar Chagwa Lungu of Zambia as Chairperson; his predecessor President João Lourenço of Angola and President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe as the incoming Chairperson of the Organ.

Tanzania last hosted the SADC Summit 16 years ago, in 2003, under the Chairpersonship of former President Benjamin Mkapa. The ordinary SADC Summit will be preceded by a series of meeting and events, namely, the meeting of the SADC Standing Committee of Senior Officials; the SADC finance subcommittee; SADC Council of Ministers Meeting; as well as the Double Troika Senior Officials, and Ministerial Council of the Organ and Double Troika Summit.

Meanwhile President Magufuli officially opened the Fourth Annual SADC Industrialisation Week with a call for African countries to redouble their efforts to industrialise their economies.

Magufuli underscored the need for SADC member states to pursue industrialisation, saying it was a cornerstone for accelerated regional economic growth, enhanced competitiveness and job creation.

The President said for the SADC region to industrialise and grow its economy, there was a need to foster intra-regional trade; harness science and technology; maintain reliable energy and infrastructure; increased youth involvement in innovation; eliminate barriers to trade and enhance a conducive environment for participation and growth of the private sector.

In reflecting on the theme of the 2019 SADC Industrialisation Week, “A Conducive Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, increased intra-regional trade, and job creation”, Magufuli noted a number of opportunities available for increased intra-regional trade and called on SADC member states to trade among each other for sustainable economic growth of the region.

He said the trade imbalance between Africa and other developed countries needs to change. “Africa produces what it does not consume and consumes what it does not produce,” he said.

Executive Secretary of SADC, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, expressed gratitude to Magufuli for his commitment to the SADC industrialisation agenda demonstrated by accepting to grace the opening of the industrialisation week.

Tax commended efforts by the government of Tanzania to increase supply of affordable energy through the 2,115 MW Rufiji Hydropower Project that will lower the cost of production and contribute to industrialisation for Tanzania and the SADC region through the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) interconnector.

The SADC Executive Secretary called on the delegates to utilise the trade opportunities created by the SADC Free Trade Area, which is an integrated market of the 16 countries with a combined population of 327 million and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about US$599 billion as of 2016.

She hailed the historic launch of the SADC Business Council, which she said signifies the importance and value of the private sector in driving the SADC industrialisation agenda. Tax cited the development of the value chains and infrastructure as some of the needs that require investments and capital from the private sector.

The opening ceremony was attended by high ranking government officials from Tanzania, including Innocent Bashungwa, Minister for Industry and Trade of Tanzania and  Ambassador  Amina  Salum Ally, Minister for Trade and Industry, of the government of Zanzibar, members of the SADC Business Council, heads and representatives of the diplomatic corps, representatives of the private sector, international cooperating partners, civil society organisations, academia and the media.

 A total of about 3 000 participants, including 1 576 exhibitors participated in this year’s annual SADC Industrialisation Week. – www.sadc.int.

 

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