Chakwera says “Refuse to be daunted by obstacles but find solutions”

The outgoing Southern African Development Community (SADC) Chairperson, Dr Lazarus Chakwera, has challenged Africa to refuse to be daunted by obstacles that threaten economic growth, peace and stability but must put efforts and resources together to resolve them for the good of 340 million people in the SADC Region.

Chakwera challenged the delegates to the 42 Summit of Heads of State and Government of the SADC in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Wednesday during the handover of SADC Chairmanship to His Excellency Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, President of the DRC.

“We must prepare for the shocks. With resources we have, we must refuse to be anyone’s beggar. With the unity we have, we must refuse to let anyone steal from us or use us to steal from our own people or each other.

“We must create our own pools of development resources we already have, natural and mineral resources that should be more than enough to finance any projects we need across Africa and no economic bloc is as endowed with these resources as SADC is,”
said Chakwera.

“We need to build ourselves new cities, new universities, new infrastructure, new industries and new programmes that will lift our people out of poverty and meet the needs of vulnerable people,” he added.

He then expressed happiness that despite the calamities that hit Southern Africa and the world at large, SADC member states pulled their resources together and came to each other’s aid.

The former SADC Chairperson was referring to the COVID-19, Cyclone Ana, Cyclone Batsirai, Cyclone Dumako and Cyclone Emnat each of which left a trail of death and destruction in most countries in SADC countries that included, South Africa, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Seychelles, just to mention a few.

“For instance, we supported South Africa and Madagascar with 300, 000 US Dollars and 200,000 US Dollars respectively drawn from the SADC Contingency Fund,” Chakwera told delegates amid hand-clapping in appreciation.

However, Chakwera expressed disappointment with the practice taking place in DRC that some natural and mineral resources are stolen by ill-minded western countries. 

The plunder that we have allowed the west to conduct in DRC is a sin we needed to repent of, resolve and refuse to see it repeated anywhere else in the region.  

During Malawi’s tenure of SADC chairmanship, the theme was: “Bolstering Productive Capacities in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Inclusive, Sustainable, Economic and Industrial Transformation.”

Malawi implemented SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030 which seeks to further deepen Southern Africa regional integration and foster development in support to the pillar of Industrial Development and Market Integration. 

Meanwhile, President Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo has assumed the position of SADC chairmanship under the theme “Promoting industrialisation through, agro-processing, mineral beneficiation and regional value chains for inclusive and resilient economic growth.”

The theme for DRC has some links to Malawi’s theme for purposes of continuity.

Sixteen (16) member states that attended the summit were Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, eSwatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

President Chakwera took over the SADC chairmanship from the President of Mozambique, His Excellency Filipe Nyusi. The Malawi leader will remain a member of the Troika which comprises SADC chairperson, incoming (deputy) chairperson and the outgoing chairperson.

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