By Taonga Sabola
President Lazarus Chakwera has said the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) secretariat is key to the realisation of the regional bloc’s vision.
Chakwera, who assumed the chairmanship of Sadc in August this year, was speaking at the Sadc secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana, yesterday during a visit meant to familiarise himself with Sadc secretariat work.
Currently, Sadc has a Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-30 which envisions a peaceful, middle to high income industrialised region, a bastion of prosperity and liberty for all its citizens.
The Sadc chairperson said Sadc secretariat and leaders must leverage on areas of excellence and implement priorities to achieve inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development, remove barriers to deeper integration and good governance and promote durable peace and security as guided by the principles of the Sadc Treaty and Agenda.
He said he would count on Sadc Executive Secretary Elias Magosi to continue leading the secretariat team’s efforts.
“I will count on you to ensure that our regional programmes are not just strategically aligned with national policies and strategies, but also with continental and global development processes such as the African Union Agenda 2063 and the United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
“I will count on you to lead a strong, responsive and efficient secretariat that embodies stewardship, creativity and innovation. I will count on you to be vigilant against the injudicious use of the limited resources coming from member states,” Chakwera said.
The Sadc chairperson pledged to support and work closely with secretariat staff in addressing institutional and political obstacles in the path towards economic integration.
Chakwera also pledged to push for the implementation of the RISDP 2020-30.
“I pledge to rally support for our economic integration agenda from our International cooperating partners. I pledge to lend my voice to the cause of diversifying our funding sources and exploring collaboration opportunities with non-traditional partners.
“And, finally, I pledge to promote our regional cohesion among Africa’s emerging young leaders so that the next generation of hands, into which we must pass on the baton of economic integration efforts, are prepared,” he said.
Chakwera also announced the establishment of the Chakwera Prize for Public Speaking, which will invite recorded submissions of college students across Africa articulating their innovative ideas for strengthening pan-Africanism.