The former President of The United Republic of Tanzania, His Excellency, Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, was the guest speaker at the SADC Public Lecture on Upscaling Regional Economic Integration and Development held at the University of Swaziland (UNISWA) in Mbabane on the 23rd August 2016. The lecture was organised in collaboration between the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Kingdom of Swaziland and UNISWA.
The Public Lecture is organised every year prior to the Ordinary Summits of SADC Heads of State and Government to raise public awareness about SADC. The lecture is conducted in partnership between the SADC Secretariat and a strategic learning institution in the country which is hosting the Summit, to deliver a Public Lecture on a selected topic of interest to the public.
In his Remarks, the Right Honourable Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Swaziland, His Excellency Dr. Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini said that Dr. Kikwete’s lecture is effectively the start of the very exciting fortnight for the Kingdom of Swaziland, playing host to the other 14 SADC Member States. He mentioned that His Majesty King Mswati III has expressed his gratitude to His Excellency Kikwete in accepting the invitation to be the guest speaker. “Swaziland is fully committed to regional integration achievement throughout SADC and is honoured to be hosting the 2016 Ordinary Summits of SADC Heads of State and Government, and witnessing the taking of the Chair by the Head of State, His Majesty King Mswati III.” Said the Prime Minister.
The SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency, Dr. Stergomena Lawrance Tax, said that public lecture was aimed at publicizing SADC so that people can understand the Region’s history, agenda, programmes and achievements. “This annual event also provides an opportunity for the public to interrogate the SADC Regional Economic Development and Integration agenda, with the main target audience being intellectuals as well as students at institutions of higher learning.” She mentioned. Dr. Tax paid homage to Former President Dr. Kikwete saying he is a very distinguished person who is highly effective in many aspects including international diplomacy.
In his Public Lecture Presentation, His Excellency Dr. Kikwete Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, also former Chairman of the African Union outlaid the foundation and formation of the SADC starting from the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) in 1975, the brain child of the Frontline States Organization to assist and spearhead the struggle for political liberation of Southern Africa. He explained the adversities experienced through the South African Apartheid led Regime adding that SADC had to overcome the suppression and many adversaries in order to achieve its agenda. He outlined the main objective of SADC as espoused in the SADC Treaty, being “to achieve development and economic growth; maintain peace and security, alleviate poverty; enhance standards and quality of life of the people of Southern Africa; and support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration”.Speech by HE Dr Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete
He explained that in order to achieve its objectives of regional integration, SADC adopted two main policy frameworks, the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and the Strategic Indicative Development Plan for the Organ (SIPO). The RISDP outlines the priority areas of cooperation and regional integration milestones and targets for each priority area towards the realization of SADC objectives. He added that in revising the RISDP in 2015, the Region decided to place industrialization at the centre of regional integration and adopted the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Road Map 2015 – 2063. SADC has also prioritised development of Regional infrastructure to support regional integration and is implementing the SADC Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan.
He explained the stages of regional integration which include establishment of a Free Trade Area; Customs Union; Common Market; Monetary Union; and Single Currency. He noted that while SADC launched its FTA in 2008, the targets for a Customs Union, Common Market and Monetary Union are yet to be achieved.
In addressing the theme of the lecture, H.E. Former President Dr. Kikwete emphasised that regional cooperation and regional integration are key in achieving a sustainable economic growth. He explained the difference between cooperation and integration and noted the commitments of Member States to regional integration as witnessed by the adoption of policy frameworks and programmes towards regional integration. He advocated for expediting implementation of the programmes in order to achieve the objectives of regional integration.
The lecture was attended by Their Royal Highnesses - the Emakhosikati, Government officials, learning institutions, parliamentarians, students, private sector, civil society, heads of diplomatic missions, the media as well as the academia.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will host its 36th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government in Mbabane, Swaziland on the 30th – 31st August 2016. A number of meetings are already taking place in preparation for the Summit.