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Malawi happy with Sadc direction

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Malawi is happy with benefits the country derives from being a member of the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc), Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Francis Kasaila, said Friday.

Kasaila was speaking on the sidelines of the opening session of the Sadc Council of Ministers Meeting in Swaziland.

He said Sadc had grown leaps and bounds since its founding in 1980 as a loose alliance of nine majority independent states in southern Africa that comprised Malawi, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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“We have evolved from a political organisation with the aim of lessening dependence of the then apartheid South Africa to a regional economic bloc focusing on projects and programmes in the region of $400 billion.

“We are now the envy of other regional blocs due to our unity, solidarity, peaceful coexistence, stability and trade and infrastructure-focused operations,” he said.

The summit will deliberate and agree on setting up a Sadc Regional Development Fund (RDF), which will have an initial capitalisation stock of $120 million, which will be contributed upon by member states.

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The fund will be used as a special purpose vehicle for more capitalisation from many other players, including the private sector, financial institutions and other donors.

Kasaila said Malawi took advantage of the meeting to make sure its projects across energy and infrastructure were duly completed.

The Prime Minister of Swaziland, Sibusiso Dlamini, officially opened the meeting.

Dlamini called upon Sadc member states to fully espouse the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) as a tool for socio-economic development via project implementation.

He said: “The RISDP is the definitive way forward for Sadc, and clearly the faster industrialisation of our countries is a key part of that strategy…”

He also called on member states to spare time and discuss “adequate mobilisation of resources to fund the emergency areas of need”, especially food shortages that had hit most Sadc countries due to drought.

Sadc Executive Secretary, Stergomena Lawrence Tax, said Sadc is a peaceful and stable bloc.

She, therefore, called on member states to continue to adhere to principles of democracy, good governance and increased levels of socio-economic integration in the quest for sustainable and equitable development and poverty eradication.

The ministers are meeting ahead of the 36th Sadc Summit of Heads of State and Government that will take place from 30-31 August, 2016.

The summit will see President Seretse Khama Ian Khama of the Republic of Botswana hand over the Sadc chairmanship to His Majesty King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland.

The summit is being held under the theme ‘Resource Mobilisation for Investment in Sustainable Energy Infrastructure for an Inclusive Sadc Industrialisation and for the Prosperity of the Region’.

Kasaila, who was delegated by President Peter Mutharika to represent him at the summit, has been joined at the meeting by Malawi’s envoys to Mozambique and Swaziland.

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