20 April, 2018, Harare, Zimbabwe: The Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax on 20th April, 2018 paid a courtesy call on His Excellency President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
His Excellency President Mnangagwa welcomed and thanked H.E. Dr Tax for visiting Zimbabwe to meet the new leadership and share some thoughts on how Zimbabwe and SADC can move together.
His Excellency the President informed the SADC Executive Secretary that since he became President, the Government of Zimbabwe has embarked on various reforms to open up opportunities for economic recovery. The President cited the government's efforts to engage with the world to lift sanctions and initiatives to attract foreign and domestic investments into Zimbabwe as some of the steps being undertaken by the Government to grow its economy.
Regarding the 2018 elections, H.E President Mnangagwa said, under his leadership, the Government of Zimbabwe is committed to holding elections in a peaceful atmosphere and within the confines of the law. The President informed the SADC Executive Secretary that, under his leadership, plans are underway to bring and engage with leaders of registered political parties to ensure that the forthcoming elections are conducted in a credible and peaceful manner.
H.E. Dr Tax congratulated H.E. President Mnangagwa on being elected leader of the ZANU-PF and President of Zimbabwe in November 2017. On this note, H.E. Dr Tax commended the President and people of Zimbabwe for handling the political transition in a peaceful manner, saying the transition process demonstrated the level of political maturity in Zimbabwe
On SADC support, H.E. Dr Tax assured the President of unflinching commitment by SADC to support the reforms being undertaken by the Republic of Zimbabwe as it embarks on its path to economic recovery. She added that Zimbabwe has a unique place in SADC, saying that, apart from being one of the Founding Members of SADC, the country championed the SADC Industrialisation Agenda to deepen Regional Integration through economic and technological transformation at the national and regional levels.
The Executive Secretary underscored the importance of peace and stability. In this regard, she thanked the Republic of Zimbabwe for inviting SADC to observe the July 2018 elections, and assured H.E. the President that SADC will send its observer mission, and will support the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) as may be required. On this point, H.E. Dr Tax commended President Mnangagwa for his commitment to ensure that the coming elections are held in a fair and non-violent manner.
During the visit the SADC Executive Secretary was welcomed by acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honourable Simon Khaya-Moyo. The Executive Secretary also met with the Chairperson of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Justice Priscilla Chigumba; had a joint meeting with Ministries of Finance and Economic Development, and Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development, during which the two parties agreed on concrete steps that will facilitate practical implementation of value chains, while addressing trade imbalance challenges. She also had an opportunity of meeting the Former President of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Dr. Robert G. Mugabe.
Together with the Government, the Executive Secretary engaged with the SADC Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC), where the two parties reviewed progress made on areas of cooperation, and agreed to forge close collaboration, especially in research that informs and drives forward the SADC Industrialisation Agenda and regional value chains.