CLOSING REMARKS BY HON. NETUMBO NANDI-NDAITWAH, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA ON THE OCCASION OF A PUBLIC LECTURE ON “DEEPENING INTEGRATION IN THE SADC: ACHIEVEMENTS, CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES” 15 AUGUST 2019, UNIVERSITY OF DAR ES SALAAM, UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA.
Your Excellency, Dr. Benjamin Mkapa Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania;
In the interest of time, please allow me to stand by the established protocol.
Allow me to start by expressing, with a deep sense of humility, my gratitude for being invited to deliver the closing remarks at this Public Lecture.
From the onset, I would like to congratulate His Excellency, Dr. Benjamin William Mkapa, Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, the SADC Secretariat, the Uongozi Institute and the University of Dar es Salaam for this timely Public Lecture.
Timely in the sense that deepening integration in SADC is what we need, as that is the only process that will lead us to the full integration of the region and the continent, thus making it possible for Africa to address the challenges of under development and poverty faced by Africans.
Distinguished ladies and Gentlemen,
In the SADC region, we are privileged that our developmental agenda is built on a strong foundation and anchored in principles, which stems from the vision of our Founders who were foresighted in their resolve for a better region and continent.
Our region has also experienced a protracted liberation struggle during which we did not only share food and shelter but died together thus giving us a permanent oneness. At the forefront of inculcating the spirit of integration, social and economic cohesion was the eminent teacher, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere.
SADC has its roots at the Mulungushi Conference, the Front Line States and the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) and Mwalimu has played a central role in all these regional formations looking at how best we can work together to address the challenges facing our people.
All Liberation Movements in Southern African have operated from Tanzania a country that has also accepted to host the OAU Liberation Coordinating Committee. It is therefore, not wrong to say that our connectedness as a region and our continued pursuit for more deepened integration were born here in the United Republic of Tanzania.
Thank for the visionary leadership of Mwalimu a true Pan Africanist who declared that Tanzania could not be independent if the whole continent is not liberated. In itself that is a call for regional and continental integration. We owe it to Mwalimu and his peers to ensure that what they stood for is realized.
Namibia values regional integration very much as it is important in the expansion of markets, a factor in the area of economic growth and sustainable development. This explains why Namibia has given land to all our land -locked neighbours to develop dry ports thus making it possible for those countries to be sea linked.
I would like to agree with the sentiments that SADC is well positioned to share its key lessons with the rest of the continent. However, I am quick to caution that in celebrating our success, it is easy to become complacent and lose out on an opportunity to fast track the realization of the SADC WE WANT.
In the same vein, we have a responsibility to ensure that we are more realistic when we take stock of what has worked and what has not. Yes, SADC is not integrated; the region is in the process of integration. The general public has to feel this process.
I am sure many if not all drivers feel a sense of belonging when looking at their driving licence written SADC. But the question is when will they have similar ID? if not a passport that will allow them to study and even do business in the region on equal terms. This question will be answered when we reinforce protocols related to the free movement of people and goods.
As a region our success in cementing the principles of regional peace and stability a prerequisite for development and a strong pillar in the process of integration is commendable. However, at times we operate in a context where on the one hand there is great impetus and appreciation for the whole and this is best depicted through regional projects like the Southern African Power Pool.
This has translated into great direct benefits for our people through power sharing arrangements, which are able to balance energy surpluses and deficits in the region. On the other hand, however, we see how sometimes at national level, and more so in terms of policy issues, there is a tendency to invoke national interest and sovereignty, which in turn could be an impediments to our ability to move regional initiatives forward. For example the issue of value chain has been on the card for some time. Value chain is one of the strong pillars for regional economic integration.
Ladies and Gentleman,
The focus of the 39th Summit of Heads of State and Government takes cognizance of the fact that there is a conducive environment created for inclusive and sustained industrial development. It further highlights the importance of intra-regional trade and job creation.
If you will allow me, I would like to shed the spotlight on a few of our milestones which pave the way for the full realization of our medium and long term developmental agenda as articulated in the Regional Indicative Strategic Plan and the Strategic Indicative Plan.
As part of our Industrialisation Strategy, we have identified potential value chains in the region, which have a specific focus on a combination of how our individual and regional strengths can be leveraged for optimal benefits from both regional and global value chains. This approach specifically allows us to profile the sectors in each country and develop the strategies for value addition, beneficiation and down-stream processing. It also allows us to have a vested interest in promoting investment in regional projects, as we are able to reap the collective benefits for all the people in our region. What remains is the real implementation.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
The 38th Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government was held under the theme, “ Infrastructure Development, For Youth Empowerment For Sustainable Development” for we believe that as we forge ahead with our developmental agenda and regional integration, our youth must be at the forefront. At the same time developmental infrastructures such as roads, rail, and telecommunication among others have to be put in place.
On my arrival in Dar Es Salaam, this time around I was highly impressed by the pace at which infrastructure development is taking place. This speaks to our goal of regional connectivity and enhances our collective ability to facilitate the free movement of goods and services as foreseen in the SADC Free Trade Area. Again, this is one of the areas in which our region can contribute and benefit to the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area once it becomes operational.
SADC has also made good progress in the area of women empowerment thus enabling them to play a role both in the political and economic field. That is to say in our region women are making their input in the process of regional integration.
However, we have to accept that gender equality is not fully realised. As we continue to harmonise our legislative and policy frameworks, to create opportunities for our citizens and create an environment that enables easier transactions and facilitates intra-regional investment, we should not overlook to have programmes focusing on women and youth.
Let me conclude by saying, there are several positive developments in our region, I am hopeful about the future of our region. I look forward to more initiatives like this, which speak directly to reflective approaches on what works, where we can adapt and where we are completely off the mark in our road to regional integration; thus enabling us to find best ways of addressing challenges facing us. Also to allow us to hand over the baton to the next generation of leaders based on strong foundation.
Distinguished invited guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me at this point to extend my sincere appreciation to His Excellency President Mkapa for the significant role played in laying the foundation for our regional growth and development.
I should not leave this podium without expressing how happy I am to be back at the University of Dar-es-Salaam. During my six (6) years as SWAPO Chief Representative in East Africa, based in Dar-es-Salaam, I have been a frequent visitor as I was always invited to give lectures to first year students of the Political Department. If there are some of the former students in the audience they can testify to that fact.
To the organisers, thank you once again for the kind invitation and for the thought provoking discussion we had this morning.
I thank you!