South Africa has been elected as the chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The 36th Ordinary Summit, which concluded on Wednesday in Swaziland, was attended by 15 Heads of State.
“We are extremely honoured to have been elected as the incoming Chairperson of SADC. This is a responsibility we take very seriously.
“We equally wish to affirm our total commitment to carry out this huge responsibility to the best of our ability. We accepted this honour as our contribution to our regional integration agenda,” President Jacob Zuma said in his acceptance speech.
The SADC chairmanship, on a one-year-term basis, rotates among the bloc’s member states.
Zuma commended outgoing chair President of Botswana, Seretse Khama Ian Khama, for his sterling work during his tenure.
“We appreciate his contribution to the well-being of our community by convening several ministerial workshops on poverty eradication and food security, access to energy and water and illegal trade in wildlife.”
Under Botswana’s stewardship, SADC last year adopted the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (2015-2020).
The regional bloc also adopted the Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap, which is seen as a key milestone in SADC’s march towards regional economic integration.
Moving forward, President Zuma said SADC needs to work on an implementation mechanism of these important instruments, and to pay particular focus on prioritisation and sequencing of identified projects in order to have maximum regional impact.
“For this to happen, it is critical that we identify high priority cross-border projects that are bankable and financed.
“Our abundant natural resources should enable us to create regional value chains, to enhance industrialisation, growth and development,” he said.
With South Africa being chair, the country will host the 37th Ordinary SADC Summit scheduled for August 2017.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK