Malawi hails SADC Summit, signs seven legal instruments

Malawi has described the just ended SADC Summit as successful in that in brought about various initiatives that will benefit its citizens more especially the youth.

President Khama symbolically hands over the SADC Chairpersonship to King Mswati III
President Khama symbolically hands over the SADC Chairpersonship to King Mswati III
New SADC Chairperson, His Majesty King Mswaiti III makes a statement during the Summit
New SADC Chairperson, His Majesty King Mswaiti III makes a statement during the Summit
Leading Malawi's delegation Kasaila - Pic by Chikondi Chimala, Mana
Leading Malawi’s delegation Kasaila – Pic by Chikondi Chimala, Mana

Speaking at the end of the Summit, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Francis Kasaila, who represented President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, said Malawi had gained a lot from the Summit siting joint SADC efforts to fight corruption and hunger, provide more education opportunities for citizens and project financing among other areas.

“We approved and signed seven very important draft amended protocols that includes those against corruption, Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation; Finance and Investment; Cooperation in Financial Matters; Trade; Operationalization of the Regional Development Fund and lastly the Protocol on Gender and Development.

“These are important instruments that keep us on our toes in our efforts to foster regional integration through peer monitoring to improve the lives of all Malawians and SADC citizens,” said Kasaila.

Kasaila also said that the Summit among others appealed to the Regional and International Community for continued support to address the deteriorating regional food security situation food situation following the 2015/16 agricultural season occasioned by the extreme el nino drought phenomenon which left the region with a cereal deficit of 9 million tonnes, with 39.6 million vulnerable people requiring food and other humanitarian assistance.

He disclosed that he took opportunity to thank Zambia from where Malawi among others is importing maize from to mitigate against the food shortages in Malawi while reiterating what President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika has always said, that, no one will die of hunger in Malawi as government will make sure there is food supply throughout the country.

Kasaila said the Summit was a resounding success, as it offered a great opportunity for the SADC Heads of State and Government to provide necessary guidance for the effective implementation of the SADC Revised Indicative Strategic Development Plan in relation to the SADC Regional Strategy and Roadmap on Industrialization, as well as on the socio-economic and political situation in the region.

He said Malawi will continue with the ongoing process of aligning its own industrialization and infrastructure strategies and programmes to SADC, so as to ensure that it successfully benefit from resources provided, through regional projects and programmes.

During the opening of the Summit, the new SADC Chairman, King Mswati III also took opportunity to inform the Summit that a SADC University of Transformation will be established focusing on innovation and will initially enroll 300 students on full scholarships with each Member State including Malawi getting scholarships for 20 students.

“This initiative will give new hope and opportunity to our youth and our women. The intention is to have the first intake of students prior to the 37th SADC Summit [of Heads of State and Government] in 2017,” said Mswati.

Kasaila had on Monday joined other Heads of State and Government in attending the Umhlanga (Reed Dance Ceremony) which took place at the Ludzidzini Royal Village in Lobamba, Swaziland. The Reed Dance is a Swazi cultural event created in the 1040s where young girls cut reeds, present them to the Queen Mother – ostensibly to repair the windbreak around her royal residence – and then dance in celebration.

The Summit that was held at the Royal Lozitha Palace under the theme, ‘Resource Mobilisation for Investment in Sustainable Energy Infrastructure for an Inclusive SADC Industrialization and for the Prosperity of the Region’ saw King Mswati III take over the Chairmanship of the regional body from Botswana’s President Seretse Ian Khama while Tanzania’s John Magufuli and Jose Eduardo Dos Santos of Angola, were elected as Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson respectively of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation respectively.

King Mswati III will be deputized by President Jacob Zuma of South Africa who was elected Vice Chairperson during the Summit and will host the 2017 Summit.

The Summit was officially closed by King Mswati while President Zuma delivered a vote of thanks and invited Heads of State and Government and all delegates to the next Summit to be held in South Africa in August 2017.

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