Kizito Sikuka Correspondent
The strong solidarity that exists among SADC member states is a source of inspiration for many and should always be maintained for the benefit of future generations.
Incoming chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of Ministers, Palamagamba Kabudi said this ahead of the 39th SADC Summit held from August 17-18 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
He said it is important for the region to uphold the aspirations of the founding fathers of SADC, who believed in a united region where all citizens enjoy high standards of living and peace.
This golden generation of selfless leaders such as the founding presidents of Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana, namely Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda and Seretse Khama, respectively, sacrificed the economic freedom of their countries to ensure that the rest of the region achieved political independence.
Nyerere had to bear the greatest burden of freeing Africa by hosting the Liberation Committee of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) now the African Union (AU), and accommodating liberation fighters in his country, providing them with logistics, training and diplomatic support.
“This year marks the 20th anniversary since the demise of Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere.
“We remember the role of the late Father of the Nation Nyerere and other leaders of Frontline States for their contribution in our freedom struggle and quest for unity,” said Kabudi, who is also the Tanzanian Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation Minister.
“We should always be reminded of those who made it possible for us to meet today as SADC.
“In the words of Nyerere ‘without unity there is no future for Africa’, and, therefore, our unity in the SADC region is our strength.”
He said as Tanzania takes over the chair of SADC, the country will uphold the ideals of the founding fathers and strive towards deepening regional integration.
“We are aware of the responsibilities ahead of us and are ready to fulfil them with your support and the support of the SADC Secretariat,” he said.
Kabudi said SADC must continue to work together in its efforts to industrialise its economy and create more jobs for its citizens. He said unity in numbers is critical as no country has progressed without the help of others.
“We are aware no country in the world has reached high economic and social development without having developed and advanced industrial sector,” he said, adding that : “We are also mindful that no country has done that on its own without the help, cooperation and assistance of other countries.”
“However, such advanced industrial sector cannot be achieved if we in the SADC region do not take deliberate efforts to create a conducive environment.”
In this regard, he said Tanzania, as chair of SADC, will focus on creating and improving the business environment for the region to industrialise its economy.
Hence the 39th SADC Summit ran under the theme: “A Conducive Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, Increased Intra-Regional Trade and Job Creation.”
Outgoing SADC Council chair Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah concurred, saying industrialisation is a priority for the region.
In fact, since 2014, all SADC summits have focused on how the region can attain industrial development. This is in realisation that most SADC member states continue to be among the poorest in the world despite having abundant natural resources as the majority of them export these in their raw or unprocessed form.
“Industrialisation remains at the core of the integration agenda of SADC and central to the diversification of regional economic growth,” said Nandi-Ndaitwah, who is also the Namibian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation.
“We, therefore, need to prioritise trade facilitation with regard to infrastructures such roads, rail, harbours, among other.”
SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax said southern Africa should continue to work together in achieving its long-standing goals of a united, prosperous and integrated region.
She said since its inception, SADC has made significant progress to advance its integration agenda, but more still needs to be done.
“While noting and celebrating the progress made, we need to redouble our efforts so as to realise the desired results of the SADC industrialisation agenda,” she said.
“The Secretariat remains seized with the implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and to ensure that industrialisation remains at the centre of the SADC integration agenda.”
Adopted in April 2015 in Harare, Zimbabwe, the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap seeks to unlock the industrial potential of the region.
The 39th SADC Summit saw President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli of Tanzania assuming the rotating SADC chair from his Namibian counterpart, Hage Geingob. — sardic.net