June 15, 2024

H.E. João Lourenço, President of Angola and SADC Chairperson visits SADC Secretariat and calls for sustained progress for a stronger and fully integrated SADC

His Excellency João Manuel Gonçalves LourençoPresident of the Republic of Angola and Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has acknowledged the SADC’s remarkable achievements and called for sustained progress towards the realisation of a strong, industrialised and fully integrated SADC.

H.E. President Lourenço highlighted SADC’s progress during his official visit to the SADC Secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana on 14 June 2024 where he was appraised on the status of SADC Regional Integration, progress on the implementation of SADC Programmes and SADC regional priorities as derived from the SADC’s regional integration blueprint, the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RIDSP) 2020-2030 and Vision 2050.

H.E. President Lourenço commended the SADC Secretariat for its outstanding work in implementing programmes and projects in various areas of development, integration, and peace and security in line with the RISDP 2020-2030. The SADC Chairperson also expressed gratitude to Member States for the progress made in ensuring that peace and security prevail in the region through, amongst others, their financial and personnel contributions to the SADC peacekeeping missions.

To accelerate regional integration, the SADC Chairperson emphasised the need to streamline procedures to ensure the smooth functioning of the SADC Free Trade Area (FTA) with the view to increase intra-regional trade and achieve economic development of the region.

On infrastructure development in support of regional integration, the SADC Chairperson called for the development of robust infrastructure and improvement of already existing infrastructure to allow the interconnectedness among SADC Member States for them to derive the full benefits of regional integration and shared prosperity. He cited the signing of the Lobito Corridor by the Governments of Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia as a classic example of cooperation among SADC Member States to facilitate the movement of goods to increase trade and boost economies of the three countries.

The SADC Chairperson underscored the need for investment in sustainable energy as a driving force for region’s industrial development. In this regard, the Chairperson urged SADC Member States to leverage the energy potential of the region, including hydroelectric, wind, and solar projects to drive the region industrialization efforts, with a focus on minerals, agricultural, and other resources in the region. Additionally, the Chairperson urged Member States to work together to build power transmission lines through the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) to further regional integration.

While acknowledging the need for sustainable financial resources for regional development, the SADC Chairperson stressed the need for the region to expedite the operationalisation of the SADC Regional Development Fund (RDF) which seeks to create a regional financing mechanism for economic development and sustainable growth by supporting infrastructure development, industrial development integration and economic adjustment, and social development in the SADC region.

In his welcome remarks, the SADC Executive Secretary, His Excellency Mr. Elias M. Magosi highlighted that, since the establishment of SADC 44 years ago, on 1st April 1980, the challenges that SADC founders grappled with at the time of signing the Lusaka Declaration, have evolved over time, to become new challenges and opportunities of the modern era. On this note, H.E. Magosi underscored the importance of consolidating peace, security, and good governance as fundamental pillars upon which the region's economic and social development aspirations are built. 

H.E. Magosi commended H.E. President João Lourenço, as the African Union Champion for Peace and Reconciliation in Africa, for his leadership and dedication to steering the region towards peace and security through his efforts in the Luanda Process which is complementing on-going initiatives and processes towards the attainment of lasting peace to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

H.E. Magosi highlighted the need for Member States to devise innovative approaches to address the challenges faced in implementing  the regional agenda, such as expediting the signing and ratification of SADC legal instruments, promoting intra-regional trade, addressing energy challenges, achieving food security, and mitigating the negative impacts of climate change. 

H.E. Magosi expressed the Secretariat’s unwavering commitment to supporting the implementation of the 2023-2024 SADC Theme which was adopted at the SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government in Luanda, Republic of Angola which is “Human and Financial Capital: The Key Drivers for Sustainable Industrialisation in the SADC Region”. The theme recognizes human resources and financial capital as two of the most critical enablers for sustainable industrialisation. 

As part of the implementation of the theme, H.E. Magosi said the Secretariat is actively supporting Member States in developing identified value chains in various sectors to maximize the benefits of regional and global value chains. 

The SADC Executive Secretary highlighted that, while progress has been made in mobilizing resources of US$185 million to support the regional integration agenda to meet the region's expanding development needs and ensure peace and security, additional resources are required to meet funding requirements of over US$50 billion to implement the region’s prioritized projects. The prioritized projects cover six strategic priority areas of the RISDP 2020–2030 namely: Peace, Security, and Good Governance; Industrial Development and Market Integration; Infrastructure Development in Support of Regional Integration; Social and Human Capital Development; Cross Cutting Issues including Gender, Youth, Environment and Climate Change, and Disaster Risk Management; and Strategic Management of RISDP 2020–2030.

The SADC Chairperson also visited the Julius Nyerere Library at the SADC Secretariat where he appreciated the rich SADC History Collection and held a closed meeting with the SADC Management Team.

H.E. President João Lourenço visited the SADC Secretariat in fulfilment of the custom whereby the SADC Chairpersons visit the Secretariat during their tenure to appreciate the work of the Secretariat and provide guidance on the implementation of SADC programmes.