The Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, on 8 February, 2021 paid a virtual courtesy call on the Incoming Chairperson of SADC, His Excellency Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, President of the Republic of Malawi, as Malawi prepares to assume the rotational Chairship of SADC at the 41st Summit of Heads of State and Government.
H.E. President Dr. Chakwera will take over from the current SADC Chairperson, His Excellency Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique at the 41st SADC Summit to be hosted by the Republic of Malawi in August 2021.
In his remarks, H.E. President Dr. Chakwera expressed gratitude to the SADC Heads of State and Government for entrusting him with the responsibility of chairing the regional bloc and pledged his commitment towards the achievement of the SADC regional integration and development agenda, building on the successes of his predecessors.
The Incoming SADC Chair thanked the Executive Secretary for steering the work of the Secretariat during the period of unprecedented challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and expressed optimism that, with the unwavering support of the Secretariat, Malawi will continue to drive forward the SADC agenda upon assuming the Chairship.
On her part, H.E. Dr Tax extended congratulations to H.E. President Dr Chakwera on his election as President of Malawi during the Fresh Elections held on 23 June 2020 and further thanked the President for accepting the responsibility of hosting the 41st SADC Summit.
H.E. Dr Tax extended her condolences to the President of Malawi following the loss of cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament, senior Government officials and other citizens who passed due to COVID-19 related complications.
On the SADC programmes, H.E. Dr Tax informed the Incoming Chairperson that the strategic direction of SADC is guided by the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030 and the SADC Vision 2050 which were adopted by the 40th SADC Summit in August 2020. On this note, the Executive Secretary informed H.E. President Dr Chakwera that the RISDP 2020-2030 and SADC Vision 2050 are based on a firm foundation of Peace, Security and Democratic Governance and are premised on the three pillars of Industrial Development and Market Integration; Infrastructure Development in Support of Regional Integration; and Social and Human Capital Development.
Both the SADC Vision 2050 and RISDP 2020-30 envision a peaceful, middle- to high-income industrialised region, where all citizens enjoy sustainable economic well-being, justice and freedom.
The SADC Executive Secretary also took the opportunity to highlight a wide range of issues aimed at facilitating Malawi’s Chairship of SADC, which included highlights of Malawi’s responsibilities in hosting SADC meetings, the key legal frameworks governing SADC operations and the SADC institutional arrangements as spelt out in the SADC Treaty.
As the Incoming Chair of SADC, Malawi will propose the theme of the 41st SADC Summit which will be endorsed by the Heads of State and Government. The theme is expected to have an overarching orientation on industrialisation, following the frontloading of industrialisation to facilitate sustainable implementation and assessment of SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063).
Malawi last hosted the SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government in August, 2013 where, among the key historic highlights, the Summit appointed H.E. Dr Tax as the sixth and first female SADC Executive Secretary. Coincidentally, eight years after the 2013 Summit, Malawi will host the 41st SADC Summit where, once again, the Summit will appoint the next SADC Executive Secretary to succeed H.E. Dr Tax after successfully serving two consecutive four-year terms in line with Article 15 of the SADC Treaty.