Windhoek – The 38th SADC Summit got underway in Windhoek on Thursday with the meeting of the Standing Committee of Senior Officials, during which Namibia took over the rotational chair of the regional committee.
Namibia’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation Ambassador Selma Ashipala-Musavyi took over as the chairperson of the Standing Committee of Senior Officials from Kgabo Mahoai, the Director General for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation for South Africa.
The Committee serves as a technical advisory with the mandate, among others, is to review and clear documents for the SADC Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers oversees the functioning of the SADC institution and ensures that policies and decisions are implemented.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting at Safari Court and Hotel, Ashipala-Musavyi expressed gratitude for the new role.
“As a member state, Namibia feels honored and privileged to be assuming the Chairmanship of our Organization, who’s objectives are to achieve development and economic growth, alleviate poverty, enhance the standard and quality of life of the people of Southern Africa and support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration,” she said.
This year’s Summit is held under the theme ‘Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development’. Ashipala-Musavyi noted that the theme is carefully aligned the preceding themes on industrialization.
“The theme illustrates that infrastructure development and youth empowerment go hand in hand, and are vital in driving SADC towards industrialization. The theme also speaks to the socio - economic realities of our continent, in the spirit of “The Africa We Want”, as outlined in the AU Agenda 2063, and reflect the general concerns of the Global South as entailed in the UN Agenda 2030,” she said.
“We therefore have an ample opportunity and should critically look back to the progress we have made so far in implementing SADC Programmes. I am pleased to state that there have been notable progresses in many sectors, especially infrastructural connectivity, economic development and trade, as well as in ensuring that peace and security prevails in the region”.
In a statement read on his behalf, Mahoa thanked members of the Standing Committee of Senior Officials their support and cooperation during his tenure, while calling on them to extend the same support to Ashipala-Musavyi.
Mahoai further called on the Commiitee members to continue embracing the principles of the ‘The SADC We Want’, which is an expression of the region’s mutual objective to create a prosperous and integrated region.
“We should advance The SADC We Want by following the priorities espoused in our core adopted frameworks and strategies such as the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan, the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap and the Strategic Indicative Plan of the Organ,” he said.
Several other meetings such as the SADC Finance subcommittee; SADC Council of Ministers Meeting, the Double Troika Senior Officials, and Ministerial Council of the Organ and Double Troika Summit will precede the Summit of the Head of States and Government on 17-18 August.