Democratic Republic of Congo(DCR) Joseph Kabila has bid farewell to the Southern African Development Community(SADC) family in an emotional speech during the official opening of the 38th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government in Windhoek today.
President Kabila who punctuated his speech with humuor thanked the regional leaders who made his work as President of DRC easy saying he was also grateful to those who made it a little difficult.
President Kabila said his term in office has been a difficult and challenging journey aimed at unifying and consolidating state authority in his country.
He said the region has been a good family to the DRC and that the country appreciates the sacrifices made, some through blood offer to ensure peace in his country.
President Kabila said in order for those sacrifices not to be in vain DRC needs to consolidate on the gains made so far.
The DRC President further said his country has been rejecting any kind of blackmail and that it will be alert and steady fast.
Mr. Kabila said beyond peace and security, economic development has been top on the agenda of his administration.
He urged the SADC region to be strong and not to forget the past in as far as the regional body’s mission is concerned.
The theme of the summit which is being held at the Safari Conference Centre is “Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development.’’
And Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa,Vera Songwe warned that peace was expensive to buy once lost.
Dr. Songwe said the region cannot afford instability which comes as a result of inequality saying equal access to necessities was key.
She further called on the region to invest in education infrastructure for youths so that the region gains from the massive human resource which is untapped.
She commended the region for the timely theme which she said represents the challenges of the time.
Meanwhile, African Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat has called on the region to harness the energy of youths if the agenda for industrialization and regional economic growth is to be achieved.
Mr. Mahamat said youths are the majority in the region hence the need to harness their energy.
He however, expressed happiness that the SADC region has mainstreamed the cause for youths in its activities.
And Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has commended SADC and the African Union for sending election observers to that country.
President Mnagagwa said he took it upon himself to preach peace and love before, during and after elections saying all parties campaigned freely.
President Lungu was among ten SADC Heads of State who attended the official opening of the historical summit.
African Union(AU)Chairperson, Paul Kagame who is also Republic of Rwanda President also addressed the delegates.
Others in attendance were former Presidents of Mozambique Joaquim Chisano and Namibia’s Sam Nujoma and Hifikepunye Pohamba.