As President Lazarus Chakwera is set to take over the chairmanship of the Southern African Development Committee (Sadc), he says he sees both opportunities and challenges in the position.
Chakwera made the remarks Thursday during a press conference at Kamuzu International Airport on his arrival from Mozambique where he attended the 40th Sadc Extraordinary Summit.
He said the country would have an opportunity to strengthen its relationship with other countries.
“The country will now have a voice on policies affecting Malawians in different countries,” he said.
Chakwera hopes that the position gives the nation a chance to strengthen its trade ties with other nations within the region.
He said the country would also use the opportunity to further its mining efforts.
“Although we have this opportunity, on the other hand, we have a responsibility. That is what I have learnt. It is a huge responsibility to lead 16 countries,” said Chakwera.
He said he got the lessons from the outgoing Sadc chairperson, Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique.
Malawi will host the 41st Sadc Summit in August this year.
During the press conference, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eisenhower Mkaka read a Sadc communique highlighting several agreements by the Sadc leaders.
Among others, Sadc has agreed to enhance research in pharmaceuticals including the development of vaccines like the Covid vaccine.
They have also agreed to deploy standby force to Cabo Delgado in Mozambique to help fight terrorism.
Chakwera said the country is ready to send the troops, indicating that the troops are always ready because it is their duty.
Mkaka added that the 16 countries have also called on humanitarian organisations to continue providing support to the affected people in Mozambique.
The Sadc leaders have also called for the unconditional removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by Western countries due to what they claim is a lack of progress in democratic and human rights reforms.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.