Windhoek – SADC should push for a change in the rules of engagement with international organisations and institutions such as the United Nations, the IMF and the World Bank, SADC Chairperson President Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi has said.
Addressing a summit of regional leaders in Lilongwe, Malawi this week, President Chakwera said international financial institutions all too often treated Africans as second class citizens of the global village.
“The time has come for us to stand together in insisting that the Bretton Woods institutions reconfigure the terms and conditions they have imposed on us for decades, leaving us in deeper poverty than they found us.
“We, as Africans, have a moral duty to refuse second class status in our participation in United Nations decisions that affect the peace, stability, and sustainability of our world. So the time has come for us to insist that Africa must have at least one permanent seat on the UN Security Council,” he said.
His call came as a lobby for debt restructuring and relief, and for reform of the international financial and political system grows.
President Chakwera also took a swipe at the unfair and uneven distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
He noted that rich and powerful countries were hoarding far more vaccines than they needed while developing nations struggled to secure doses for their citizens.
“Our considered view is that the SADC We Want is untenable without levelling the playing field on COVID-19 pandemic, revitalising the agricultural sector, enhancing value addition, facilitating trade, and simplifying rules of origin.
“And now, as the world faces this global health crisis that has killed millions, torpedoed economies, and disrupted social order, we as Africans have a moral duty to reject second class status in the distribution and production of Covid vaccines, vaccines invented and manufactured in labs where some of the scientists doing such work,” President Chakwera added.
The SADC Chairperson said the African Continental Free Trade Area presented the region with immense opportunities.
“We must seize the moment. We must fully implement the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap, SADC Regional Agriculture Policy and SADC Regional infrastructure Development Master Plan, among others,” he said.