The new Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) His Excellency President Jacob Zuma of the Republic of South Africa has pledged to drive forward the SADC Industrialisation Agenda, building on the remarkable progress made by his predecessor, His Majesty King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland.
President Zuma assumed the Chairpersonship of SADC from King Mswati III on 19th August 2017 at the opening of the 37th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government.
In his acceptance speech, President Zuma said South Africa would use its Chairpersonship to drive regional Industrialisation and integration, through various potential growth paths including - agro-processing and mineral beneficiation.
“The key activities during our chairmanship will be the development of a high impact annual operation plan with targeted interventions and public policy tools to foster the development of regional value chains in agro processing, pharmaceuticals and mineral beneficiation,” said President Zuma.
“Secondly, we will promote a Member State driven process through an industrial development forum to facilitate the identification of cross border projects that will strengthen regional value chains and contribute to the development of the region,” he said, adding that concerted efforts will be needed in resource mobilisation if the region is to achieve desired targets, particularly the Industrialisation Agenda it is embarking on.
The SADC Chairperson noted that the theme of the 37th SADC Summit; partnering with the private sector in developing industry and regional value chains, is a continuation of the industrialization trajectory of the last three summits hosted by Zimbabwe in 2014, Botswana in 2015, and Swaziland in 2016.
President Zuma said as a contribution towards capacity building in the region, South Africa would support Swaziland’s initiative of establishing the SADC University of Transformation, which is mandated with delivering educational training using the vocational education training model.
The Outgoing SADC Chairperson King Mswati III said he has no doubt that President Zuma will run SADC with the vision of the Founding Fathers with even greater vigour.
He pledged his unfettered and unwavering support to President Zuma and called upon his fellow Heads of State and Government to render the same support accorded to him during his tenure as Chairperson of SADC.
King urged all SADC citizens and leaders to remain committed to the ideals and principles of the SADC Treaty.
The 37th SADC Summit elected His Excellency, Dr Hage G. Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia as Deputy Chairperson of SADC. Summit also elected His Excellency, Jose Eduardo dos Santos President of Angola as Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation and elected His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia as incoming Chairperson of the Organ.