Lilongwe, August 13: Malawi’s Minister of Foreign affairs, Eisenhower Mkaka, says the country attaches great importance to the principles, values and aspirations of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Treaty established over 40 years ago.
He made the remarks Friday after taking over Chairmanship of the SADC Council on Ministers from his Mozambican counterpart, Verónica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo, at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe during the opening ceremony of the SADC Council of Ministers meeting.
In his acceptance speech, Mkaka said Malawi has high confidence and respect in the SADC projected values and that the country is ready to take up the mantle and sustain the standards set by his predecessor Dlhovo and Mozambique as the outgoing chair.
“The Government of Malawi attaches greater importance to the principles, ideals, values, goals and aspirations of our fore fathers as encapsulated in the SADC Treaty.
“We are committed to continue spearheading the implementation of programs and projects derived from the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) for 2020-2030 as guided by the SADC Vision 2050,” said Mkaka.
“We are also resolved to sustaining the implementation of programs drawn from the Theme of the Republic of Mozambique for the 40th SADC Summit titled: ‘SADC: 40 Years Building Peace and Security and Promoting Development and Resilience in the Face of Global Challenges’,” he added.
Mkaka further said the ministers’ meeting provided a rare opportunity for them to discuss socio- economic hurdles in the region and work to find workable solutions to rebound the economy on the sustainable path.
“I have no doubt that our discussions will revolve around ongoing programs, including the SADC industrialisation strategy and roadmap for 2015 through 2063, which aims at doubling the share of manufacturing,” explained Mkaka.
In her remarks, the outgoing SADC Council of Ministers, Dlhovo, said she was thankful for the support rendered to her during her time and Mozambique's chairmanship in office.
She said the region recorded a number of achievements, one of them, the fight against COVID-19 in which she said member states were vigilant in implementing COVID-19 recommended regulations set by relevant authorities such as the rolling out of mass vaccinations.
"Let me also take this opportunity to appreciate all of our medical staff who put their lives in the front, fighting this disease; you are the heroes of our region," she said.
According to Dlhovo, the SADC block has seen a huge interest in the implementation of peace and security interventions in her country’s civil unrest which she said had been noticeable.
"We have seen that SADC member states have been committed in ensuring that there is peace and security in the region.
"When Mozambique saw instability in areas like Cabo Delgado, the organisation deployed SADC forces to make sure peace was restored.
“This just shows the brotherhood characterising our countries as a regional block. We are very thankful,” she said.
In her remarks, SADC Executive Secretary, Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, thanked the outgoing chairperson for her stewardship and what she described as outstanding leadership during her 2020 -2021 tenure in office.
She said despite a very challenging environment, the region registered significant progress during the chairpersonship of the Republic of Mozambique in areas like peace and security cooperation, industrialisation, infrastructure development and energy sector amongst others.
The SADC Council of Ministers was established to oversee policies, strategies and implementation of SADC regional integration processes amongst others.
It also advises Heads of State on overall policies.