President Lazarus Chakwera says diversification from raw and unprocessed materials to value added and manufactured products is a must if SADC countries are to achieve the kind of socio-economic transformation they envision.
Chakwera who is also Southern African Development Community – SADC chairperson was speaking in Lilongwe during the closing ceremony of the 41st Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government
Chakwera said the theme of this year’s Summit, “Bolstering Productive Capacities in the face of COVID-19 Pandemic for Sustained, Inclusive, Economic and Industrial Transformation,” is a call on all of SADC leaders to respond pragmatically and proactively to the ravaging impacts of COVID-19 on the socioeconomic situation in the Region.
He, however, noted that the kind of socio-economic transformation SADC countries envision cannot be achieved without industrialization.
The president then said that diversification from raw and unprocessed materials to value added and manufactured products is a must and the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap is key to making this a reality.
“Now is the time. Now is the time for us as a region to rebuild and recapacitate our productive resources. Now is the time for us to fully unleash our peoples’ entrepreneurial capabilities. Now is the time for us to set up productive linkages for achieving structural and industrial transformation,” said Chakwera.
He added that another key is digitalization and he called on SADC leaders to ensure the full implementation of such instruments as the SADC Protocol on Transport, Communications and Metrology and the 2001 SADC Declaration on Information, Communications and Technology (ICT).
According to Chakwera, there is no better place in the world to get these things done than SADC, because the region is peaceful, secure, and stable.
“Instability and insecurity are not only rare here, but are dealt with decisively through the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.
“In that context, the decision made by this Summit to have the United Republic of Tanzania host the Regional Counter Terrorism Centre under the SADC Regional Counter Terrorism Strategy and Action Plan is a step in the right direction. That Centre will be yet another demonstration of our resolve to give no room to terrorism and radicalism and to keep our community peaceful,” said Chakwera.
The Malawi leader assumed the SADC chairmanship during the summit which started on 9 August but presidents met on 17 and 18 August.
Chakwera took over from President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique and he will be succeeded by Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The summit also approved the appointment of Mr Elias Mpedi Magosi of Botswana as the new Executive Secretary of SADC, replacing Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax of Tanzania.