President Lazarus Chakwera has been nominated as Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) Chairperson for one year beginning August 2021.
This follows a decision by the organisation to hold its 41st session in August 2021 in Malawi.
Addressing delegates during the meeting Monday, Chakwera said Malawi is ready to host the meeting in 2021, adding that the nomination symbolises the level of confidence the organisation has in the leadership of the country.
“Malawi is extremely honoured to be elected as incoming chairperson of Sadc from August 2021. We are greatly humbled to be given this responsibility and I wish to express our unwavering commitment to execute this responsibility with utmost diligence,” Chakwera said.
This was the first time the Malawi leader has spoken at an international organisation of heads of state and governments after being elected President on June 23.
He said he will make use of the Sadc chairmanship towards the advancement of the region’s integration agenda as the community moves towards the Sadc Agenda 2050 and the post-2020 Sadc Agenda which has already been adopted.
Chakwera then saluted the current Sadc Chairperson Filipe Nyusi, President of Mozambique for his leadership shown during the meeting and immediate-past Chairperson John Magufuli of Tanzania for strides made across the region during his tenure of office despite the many challenges inflicted by Covid- 19.
In her remarks, Sadc Executive Secretary, Stergomena Lawrence Tax, said although Covid-19 is devastating, it should not overshadow achievements that Sadc has attained since its establishment.
“We remain indebted to the founders of our regional organisation who had the foresight to establish an organisation that would front stable, sustainable and equitable regional integration, as espoused in the Lusaka Declaration.
“It is gratifying to report that during the year, the formulation of a mechanism in honour of the founders of Sadc was finalised,” she said.
Chancellor College political scientist Mustapha Hussein said for a long time, the benefits of chairing Sadc have not gone beyond the countries being put on the map across the region.
He, however, said the extent to which countries benefit from chairing the regional body lie in the personality of the presidents.
“Sadc was very powerful, for example, when it was chaired by Nelson Mandela. That was a time we saw a lot of activities in the region,” Hussein said.
Hussein has challenged Chakwera when he eventually becomes chairperson of the organisation to lift the relevance of the organisation to ordinary citizens of the member states.