Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Malanji on 13th August 2020 led the Zambian delegation to the SADC Council of Ministers, hosted virtually by the Republic of Mozambique.
Mr Malanji was accompanied by the Minister of Health, Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary for International Relations and Cooperation, Ambassador Chalwe Lombe, Ministry of Health, Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Dr. Kennedy Malama, Ministry of National Development Planning Permanent Secretary for Development Cooperation, Monitoring and Evaluation Danies Chisenda, Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary, Mushuma Mulenga, and other senior Government officials.
During the opening ceremony, outgoing Council Chair Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Tanzania Professor Palamagamba John Kabudi noted the smooth flow of trade in the region following the development of SADC Guidelines on Harmonisation and Facilitation of Cross Border Transport Operations during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Professor Kabudi stated that during Tanzania’s tenure as Chair, the post-2020 agenda was finalized, culminating in the draft SADC Vision 2050 and Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-30 blueprints that are all in line with the continental developmental Agenda 2063.
He noted that industrialisation remains at the core of the SADC integration agenda premised on the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063.
Professor Kabudi stated that the current Covid-19 crisis provided SADC with an opportunity to advance industrialization, economic diversification and intra-regional trade as new economies and industries emerge.
The Minister called for greater integration and creation of enabling environments that nurture and promote business development.
Incoming Chair of Council, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambique Veronica Dlhovo, noted the positive strides made by SADC through regional integration programmes and the development of the post-2020 development agenda.
She expressed concern over the acts of terrorism and violence currently affecting the region and called for concerted efforts in addressing challenges to ensure regional security and sustainable development.
And SADC Executive Secretary Dr. Stergomena Tax noted the milestones recorded by SADC such as the signing of the Protocol on Industry and the commissioning of 3,595 megawatts of electricity by countries in the region, a boost to the power pool.
Dr. Tax commended Member States for the difficult decisions and rigorous measures put in place to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, reduce human suffering and minimize damage to SADC economies.
She hailed countries in the region that continued to uphold SADC democratic principles through peaceful and successful elections and peaceful transfer of power.
Dr. Tax informed the meeting that SADC had developed the SADC Vision 2050 and the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (2020-2030) that will define the post-2020 agenda anchored on industrial development and market integration; infrastructure development in support of regional integration; and social and human capital development.
The Council of Ministers paid glowing tribute to Mzee Benjamin Mkapa, former President of Tanzania and former SADC Chairperson (from 2003 to 2004), who passed away on 23rd July, 2020.
The Council of Ministers virtual meeting is being held in preparation for the 40th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government which is scheduled for Monday, 17th August, 2020.
The Summit will be held virtually under the theme “SADC: 40 Years Building Peace and Security and Promoting Development and Resilience in the Face of Global Challenges”.
The regional body is also commemorating 40 years of its existence since its founding in Lusaka on 1st April, 1980. This anniversary is being celebrated under the theme “40 Years of Promoting Peace, Regional Integration and Sustainable Development”.
SADC is guided by its vision of “A reputable, efficient and responsive enabler of Regional Integration and Sustainable Development”.
This is according to a statement issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs Public Relations Officer Chansa Kabwela.