In the spirit of Pan Africanism and the never-ending reminiscent of voices that spearheaded the fight for African independence at the beginning of the 20th century, the incoming Southern African Development Community (SADC) chair, President Lazarus Chakwera, has called on the sixteen-member state regional block to speak with one voice.
In both his welcome remarks and acceptance speech at the 41st SADC Heads of State and Government Summit held in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, on Tuesday, Malawi President and host Chakwera said:
“As SADC, we must speak with one voice and employ a common strategy, especially as we approach Cop 26 in November, 2021.”
The newly elected SADC chair, decried the disparities in the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine and the policies employed by developed nations and world bodies stopping African states from producing their own vaccine.
“The inequalities and disparities we are seeing in the distribution and production of COVID-19 vaccines are symptomatic of an old geopolitical framework that is no longer working, no longer sustainable, and no longer acceptable.
African countries are full members of the global community, period. As such, for the sake of the dignity of all human beings everywhere, we as Africans have a moral duty to refuse to be treated as second class citizens,” said Chakwera.
The new SADC chair further said the time has come for SADC to work together to put the ratified African Free Trade Area to full use until the economic rules that disadvantage the region are rewritten.
Chakwera also renewed the call for African representation at the United Nations, saying Africans have a moral duty to refuse second class status in their participation in United Nations decisions that affect the peace, stability, and sustainability of our world.
“Now, the time has come for us to insist that Africa must have at least one permanent seat on the UN Security Council,” said Chakwera.
Chakwera takes over the chairmanship from President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi of Mozambique who, symbolizing the transition of power to Chakwera, handed the badge and the gavel that the chairman uses during deliberations.
The 41st Ordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government, which opened on August 9th and is expected to end on August 19th, is held under the theme, “Bolstering productive capacities in the face of Covid-19 pandemic for inclusive, sustainable, economic and industrial transformation.”
Some of the Heads of State attending the Summit include, President Mokgweetsi Masisi, of Botswana, President Felix Tshisekedi, of the Democratic Republic of Congo, President Andry Nirina Rajoelina, the Republic of Madagascar, President Filipe Jacninto Nyusi, of the Republic of Mozambique.
Others include; South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Samia Suluhu Hassan of the Republic of Tanzania, and Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has been in existence since 1980, when it was formed as a loose alliance of nine majority-ruled States in Southern Africa known as the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC), with the main aim of coordinating development projects in order to lessen economic dependence on the then apartheid South Africa.
SADCC was formed in Lusaka, Zambia on April 1, 1980, following the adoption of the Lusaka Declaration – Southern Africa: Towards Economic Liberation.
The founding Member States are: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The transformation of the organization from a Coordinating Conference into a Development Community (SADC) took place on August 17, 1992 in Windhoek, Namibia when the Declaration and Treaty was signed at the Summit of Heads of State and Government thereby giving the organization a legal character.
The Member States are Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe
SADC headquarters are located in Gaborone, Botswana.
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