Malawi Minister of Foreign affairs and International Cooperation, Eisenhower Mkaka, has today taken over the Chairmanship of Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of Ministers.
Mkaka has taken over the role from Hon. Veronica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovu Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Republic of Mozambique who has led the council for a period of one year when Mozambique was chairing the SADC region.
In his acceptance speech, Minister Mkaka said he feel deeply challenged as the incoming chair and Malawi government is nonetheless, dedicated to sustaining the standards that have been set by his counterpart.
Mkaka said the Government of Malawi attaches greater importance to the principle’s ideals, values, goals and aspirations of fore fathers as speculated in the SDADC treaty.
“We are committed to continue spearheading the implementation of programmes and projects derived from the SADC Regional indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) for 2020-2030 as guided by the SADC vision 2050. We are also resolved to sustaining the implementation of programmes drawn from the Theme of the Republic of Mozambique for the 40th SADC Summit titled: SADC 40 years Building Peace and Security, and Promoting Development and Resilience in the Face of Global Challenges,” said Mkaka.
Mkaka added that the Council is taking place at a time no country has been spared in the wake of socio-economic situation wrecked and dominated by the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
He therefore called for coordinated efforts to respond to external shocks that have caused devastating reversals on economic gains achieved by SADC.
“This meeting provides us a rare opportunity to discuss the socio-economic hurdles in the Region and thrash out workable solutions to rebound our economies on the sustainable path for inclusive and economic. In light of this I have no doubt that our discussions will revolve around ongoing programmes including the SADC industrialization Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063), which aims at doubling the share of manufacturing value added in Gross Domestic (GDP) to 30 percent by 2030 and to 40 percent by 2050.
“The emergence of covid-19 pandemic will not only require us to redouble our efforts in industrialization but also embrace digital technologies and knowledge transfer, in order to attain these ambitious goals so as to maximize new market opportunities brought forth by the operationalization of African Continental Free Trade (AFCFTA). I have firm belief that SADC has got capacities and capabilities to surmount the current challenge and bounce back better and stronger on the road to regional prosperity,” said Mkaka.
The Council of Ministers is meeting in closed doors to set the agenda for the meeting of heads of state and governments where Malawi’s President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera will take over the SADC Chairmanship.