41st SADC Summit concludes with key agreements

The 41st Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government was concluded on Wednesday in Lilongwe which saw member states signing legal instruments and swearing in of the new SADC Executive Secretary.

In his closing remarks, the new SADC Chairperson, President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera of Malawi, said the summit had ratified key issues that would help the SADC Region grow socially, economically and politically.

Chakwera said during his SADC leadership, he would be fully committed to implementing the summit decisions towards the creation of a free and peaceful SADC; inclusive and united; productive and competitive; industrialised and prosperous and, strong and just.

“Another key [issue] is digitalisation, the need for which was ably articulated six days ago in the SADC Public Lecture presented by His Honour, Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima, Vice-President of the Republic of Malawi, under the theme: “Promoting Digitalisation for Revival of the SADC Industrialisation Agenda in the COVID-19 Era.”

“This timely call for the need to reinvigorate digitalisation in the region for e-commerce and telemedicine must be answered to accelerate our progress towards growth.

“We must, therefore, ensure full implementation of such instruments as the SADC Protocol on Transport, Communications and Meteorology and the 2001 SADC Declaration on Information and Communication Technology,” Chakwera said.

“There is no better place in the world to get these things done than SADC, because ours is a region that is peaceful, secure and stable, thanks to our solidarity and vigilance.

“Instability and insecurity are not only rare here, but are dealt with decisively through the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation,” added the Malawi leader.

He then thanked the outgoing SADC Executive Secretary, Stergomena Lawrence Tax, for her achievements during her tenure of office which Chakwera said has seen the SADC bloc succeed and progress in many issues as well as accomplishing tangible development for the region’s citizens.

The SADC Heads of State and Government appended signatures to the legal instruments adopted by the meeting.

Among the legal instruments signed are the SADC Protocol on Statistics which has been signed by Malawi, Lesotho and Tanzania. The Protocol on Energy has also been signed.

The closing SADC event was also spiced up by the swearing in ceremony of a new SADC Executive Secretary, Elias Mpedi Magosi administered by the Chief Justice of Malawi, Andrew Nyirenda.

Magosi is the seventh SADC Executive Secretary and hails from Botswana where SADC is headquartered.

Reading the 41st SADC Communique at BICC, the outgoing SADC Executive Secretary, Stergomena Lawrence Tax, thanked the regional organ for its support during her tenure of office.

Coincidentally, Tax took the mantle in Malawi in 2013 and has stepped down on Wednesday, August 18, 2021, in the same country.

The communiqué has, among other things, indicated that the next SADC Chairperson would be Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) while the next Chair country of the Organ on Politics would be Namibia.

President Chakwera took over the SADC Chairmanship on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 and is supposed to pass it on to DRC in 2022.

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