The new chairperson of the 15 member Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), Botswana President Lt general Seretse Khama Ian Khama has urged member states to expediate industrialisation and create value chains in order to grow their economies and also benefit from their resources.
Khama, who took over from, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Monday, said this in his maiden speech as SADC Chairperson during the official opening ceremnoy of the 35th summit of heads of state and governments in Gaborone, Botswana.
The summit is being held under the theme: “Accelerating Industrialization of SADC Economies through Transformation of Natural Endowment and Improved Human Capital”.
And Malawi is represented by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Dr. George Chaponda, who in salutations at the start of ceremony was referred to as “His Excellency President of Malawi, Peter Mutharika”.
However, SADC Head of Public relations Leefa Martin later apologized and corrected her mistake saying she was not informed that Chaponda is representing Mutharika
The new SADC Chairperson then paid tribute to Mugabe praising him for guiding the organization and also for ensuring that during his tenure, SADC adopted the Industrialization Strategy and Road Map and the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), at the Extra – Ordinary Summit held in Harare, Zimbabwe, in April 2015.
Khama said the current trade imbalances within the SADC region were reason enough for SADC to expedite and jump-start efforts towards industrial development, particularly with regard to the creation of value-chains.
“In this way, the more industrially advanced economies within us can assist the least-developed and small vulnerable economies to leverage on them to also increase their productive capacities. In turn, this will lead to jobs being created and thus reducing labor mobility and concentration in one or two economies in the region,” he said.
The SADC Chairperson said there is also need to continue to scale up implementation of regional infrastructure, given that it is a key enabler to economic integration and development, and the industrialization effort.
“We should therefore redouble our efforts towards accelerating implementation of power generation and transmission projects as the regional economy is virtually on its knees owing to incessant power outages that continue to disrupt economic activities and adversely impact on the quality of lives of our people,” he noted.
Speaking before handling the manttle of power, Mugabe said SADC’s adoption of the Industrialisation strategy and Road map has laid a firm foundation for the economic growth and development of the region.
He said the adoption … is only the beginning of a very long journey saying more needs to be done for the region to realise its benefits.
“We therefore urge the Secretariat to finalise the costing exercise for the plan and ensure its speedy implementation. We also call the private sector and other stakeholders to join hands with governments… for the betterment of our people and the region,” Mugabe said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :