President Lazarus Chakwera says SADC leaders must as a matter of urgency foster an environment for the creation of jobs for young people across the region.
The Malawi leader was speaking today at BICC in Lilongwe when he opened the 41st Ordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government
Chakwera urged SADC leaders to redouble efforts in areas where quick gains can be registered.
“Our convergence here must result in revitalized trade across our borders, enhanced industrial production within our borders and accelerated recovery of key sectors like tourism in the wake of the pandemic,” said Chakwera.
He added that for SADC countries to attain inclusive and sustainable economic transformation across SADC, regional integration is non-negotiable.
Chakwera said countries should enhance cross border trade and investment, embrace industrialization as the effective means of achieving main goals of SADC and facilitate the free movement of people in the region.
On Covid-19, Chakwera said the SADC summit is precisely the occasion to which SADC leaders must rise and come up with last solutions to the Covid-19 challenge and its adverse effects on people and economies.
One solution the president mentioned is the successful rollout of the regionwide vaccination programme.
According to Chakwera, the SADC region is far from the desired goal of reaching herd immunity and reducing high transmission rates hence should tackle the roadblocks blocking the region from reaching this goal.
Chakwera said: “We must confront the toxic nationalism causing some countries in the world to hoard millions of vaccine doses and deny some nations access to the same.
“Similarly, we must confront toxic nationalism causing some regions to deny other regions like SADC the right to produce vaccine for their own population.
“This pandemic is a global health crisis and not a national one, and as SADC we must stand united in opposing all forms of ‘vaccrimination’.”
The Malawi leader then noted that unusual climate patterns continue to displace communities and destroy crops, causing great suffering to people in the region.
Chakwera called on SADC leaders to speak with one voice and employ a common strategy to address the threat of climate change.
On regional insecurity, Chakwera said SADC is right to be proactive in taking bold steps to arrest any emerging pockets of instability in the region.
“We must never apologize for being decisive in this matter or for addressing the peace and security of all our member state with urgency,” says Chakwera
The Malawi leader, however, reminded SADC leaders that maintaining the region’s peace requires sustenance of democratic norms, protection of human rights and strengthening of governance institutions.
He then commended the pattern of peaceful transition of power in the region, with the latest happening in Zambia where President Edgar Lungu has conceded defeat to opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema.
SADC leaders attending the summit include President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, Botswana’s Mokgweetsi Masisi, Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania, President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and President Andry Rajoelina of Madagascar. Namibia is being represented by Vice President Nangolo Mbumba.