HANDOVER STATEMENT BY, HON. NETUMBO NANDI-NDAITWAH, THE OUTGOING CHAIRPERSON OF THE SADC COUNCIL OF MINISTERS, NAMIBIA DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION, AT THE 39THSADC SUMMIT OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT, 13 AUGUST 2019, DAR ES SALAAM, UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA.
Hon. Palamagamba Kabudi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania, and Incoming Chair of SADC Council of Ministers,
Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, Executive Secretary of SADC,
Deputy Executive Secretaries,
Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners, and Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Representatives of Regional and International Organisations,
SADC Senior Officials,
Delegates from the SADC Member States,
SADC Secretariat Officials,
Members of the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The SADC family has learnt with sadness of the tragic fuel tanker accident that took place in Morogoro, the United Republic of Tanzania, on the 10th August 2019, claiming over 70 lives and injuring many more.
On behalf of the SADC Council of Ministers and indeed on my own behalf, we wish to express our deepest condolences to the Government and people of the United Republic of Tanzania, and particularly the bereaved families.
We sympathize and remain in solidarity with the Government and the people of the United Republic of Tanzania during difficult moment. (Moment of silence).
I feel honored to welcome you all to the Council of Ministers meeting-taking place in this historic city of Dar Es Salaam. (A place of peace) I hope, like me, you all feel home away from home.
For me, having served in the United Republic of Tanzania as the SWAPO Representative in the 80s, Dar Es Salaam is indeed Home, and it brings back the memory of Mwalimu Nyerere, a true Pan Africanist. For me Mwalimu only knew me as MAMA wa SWAPO. Let me therefore take this opportunity, on behalf of the Council of Ministers to extend our thanks and appreciation to the Government and People of Tanzania for the warm welcome and hospitality extend to us, since our arrival and for the favourable facilities put at our disposal.
As we all know, SADC is in the process of realigning it’s strategic plans and renewing it’s priorities to ensure that they are relevant to the challenges faced in our region and to align our programs to our continental aspirations.
That is to say, as we prepare for the next phase of renewal for our Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and SIPO (2020-2030), we also need to realign the SADC regional vision 2050 to speak to the continental developmental Agenda 2063.
Industrialization remains at the core of the integration agenda of SADC and central to the diversification of regional economic growth. We therefore need to priorities trade facilitation with regard to roads infrastructures such roads, rail, harbors, among others. We have also to find ways of reducing transport costs and transit delays. All that is necessary to prepare the region to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area. (ACFTA).
In this regard, I would like to inform that on 2nd August 2019, Namibia inaugurated the new container terminal of the Walvis Bay Port, with a capacity to handle 750 000 of twenty feet containers. The inauguration of the Walvis Bay port is based on Namibia’s aim for the port to become the preferred western coast port for southern and central African logistics operations, which would facilitate access to international markets, by granting landlocked countries access to the Atlantic Ocean and thus creating easier and faster transit between Africa, Europe, Asia and Americas.
In the course of this year, our region faced several serious climatic challenges, namely, Tropical Cyclone Desmond, Enawo, Idai and Kenneth that caused extensive flooding in Comoros Mozambique, Tanzania and Madagascar, Malawi and Zimbabwe, coursing many deaths, injuries and destruction of infrastructure and cropland. I wish to express sincere appreciation to SADC Member States for their prompt, effective and generous response in providing humanitarian assistance to the affected countries.
As climate change is real and our region is vulnerable to it, we have to put in place strong early warning mechanism and mitigation and adaptation measures, as that will help us to cope with the impact of climate change.
The 38th SADC Summit was held under the theme on “Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development”. Youth is the most valuable asset we have in our region.
Therefore, in the operationalization of the theme, programs and activities across all sectors were organized, with emphasis on youth empowerment. The programs also emphasised the need to make the implementation of SADC Regional Programme on Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship a priority, with the aim of ensuring sustainability and the full implementation of the 38th Summit theme.
In our collective efforts to consolidate peace, stability and democratic governance in our SADC Region, six (6) of our Member States, namely, the Kingdom of ESwatini, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of Madagascar, the Union of Comoros, the Republic of Malawi and the Republic of South Africa held peaceful and transparent elections, since our last Council, held in Windhoek.
In that regard, allow me to congratulate the Governments and people of those six SADC Member States for holding credible and peaceful elections, and for upholding SADC democratic principles.
We are also pleased to have witnessed on 6 August 2019, the signing of the peace accord and peace pledge between the Government of the Republic of Mozambique and Renamo, in Maputo, Mozambique, with the aim to of ceasing hostility in Mozambique and further consolidating peace and stability in our region. We congratulate the people of Mozambique for this important achievement.
Our organization was born out of solidarity and this has in turn informed the holding and the outcome of the SADC solidarity Conference with the people of Western Sahara. To that end it is our responsibility to ensure the full implementation of that conference Declaration, as our commitment to walk with the people of Western Sahara to Self-Determination.
I wish to recall that, SADC has kept to its decision to have Gender Equality and Women Empowerment as a permanent item in our agenda. Allow me to point out that the year 2020 will mark the 25th commemoration of the Declaration adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 held in Beijing, China, and the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council resolution 1325/2000.
As a region, SADC has made great strides in this area. We have a story to tell and a contribution to make. We have to put on record that if there is a UN document where SADC has played a central role, it is the Beijing Platform for Action and it’s Declaration, where personally I served as Africa Chief Negotiator.
Together with the International Community, we have to take part in the activities for the year and we must bring out the significant contribution our region has made in the advancement of gender equality and women empowerment, particularly in decision-making and economic empowerment as well as peacekeeping.
This will ensure that our achievements are reflected in the simultaneous national, regional and global review processes.
Furthermore, 2020 will mark the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security that was initiated by Namibia in 2000. To this end, Namibia has undertaken to establish an International Women’s Peace Centre, aimed at among others strengthening women’s participation on Peace building and peace keeping. We count on the support of SADC Member State in this endeavor.
No doubt our region has made some progress in the economic integration of the region. However, and in line with SADC objective to promote sustainable and equitable socio-economic growth and development, more need to be done on SADC industrial development initiative.
As I conclude, I would like to express my appreciation on behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Namibia for the support and cooperation received from Honourable Ministers and the SADC Secretariat, led by Dr. Stergomena Lawerence Tax during my tenure a Chair of the Council of Ministers in our promotion of the regional integration agenda of SADC, in its effort to improve the living standards of our people in all spheres. Indeed the SADC Secretariat continues to play an instrumental role in our work to deliver on our regional agenda.
As I hand over the Chairmanship to my brother, Hon. Palamagamba Kabudi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania, and Incoming Chair of SADC Council of Ministers, I am confident that he will continue to successfully advance SADC’s agenda, regional integration principles and values. Honorable Incoming Chair, be assured of Namibia’s readiness to work with you as you further steer our organisation to higher heights.
I thank you all for your attention, and wish you fruitful deliberations on the Annotated Agenda of our meeting.