Professor Palamagamba John Kabudi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania on 13 August 2019 assumed the Chairpersonship of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of Ministers, taking over from Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of Namibia.
In his acceptance speech, Kabudi expressed gratitude to Outgoing Chairperson of SADC Council of Ministers for steering activities of SADC over the last one year and pledged to build on the remarkable achievements made under the leadership of the Republic of Namibia.
Kabudi said: “In the course of operationalization of the theme, A Conducive Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, Increased Intra-Regional Trade and Job Creation, the United Republic of Tanzania will place emphasis on the need to access and improve the region’s investment and business environment in the light of industrialization.”
The outgoing chairperson Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, congratulated Kabudi on assuming the Chairpersonship of the SADC Council of Ministers and expressed Namibia’s readiness to work with him in steering SADC to greater heights. She also thanked the SADC Secretariat, under the leadership of Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax for the cooperation and support during her tenure.
She said: “Industrialisation remains at the core of the integration agenda of SADC and central to the diversification of regional economic growth and called on the region to prioritise trade facilitation with regard to infrastructure such as roads, rails and harbors, while finding ways of reducing transport costs and transit delays in the region.”
She highlighted that, in line with the 38th SADC Summit theme, Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development, the Republic of Namibia championed youth empowerment programmes, recognising that the youth are the most valuable asset needed to drive industrialisation in the region.
Nandi-Ndaitwah emphasised the need to implement the SADC Regional Programme on Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship which seeks to accelerate youth development and empowerment through active youth participation.
Dr Tax thanked the outgoing chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers for her guidance and dedication in pushing forward SADC development and integration and for leading the Council of Ministers with passion and sense of purpose during her tenure.
Kabudi, of the Secretariat’s firm commitment and support to facilitate his work during his tenure as the Chairperson of Council. She expressed optimism that the Council of Ministers, under the leadership of Hon. Prof. Kabudi will continue to advance SADC values and principles.
The SADC Executive Secretary underscored that the SADC region will remain seized with the implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap, whose milestones in the 2019/2019 financial year include the long awaited profiling of the regional agro-processing value chains whereby 14 product-specific value chains were selected; the launch of SADC Business Council, development of a Regional Mining Vision and draft Protocol on Industry.
During the opening ceremony, the SADC Council of Ministers and invited guests observed a moment of silence in memory of over 70 people who lost their lives on 10 August 2019 following a tragic fuel tanker accident in Morogoro, the United Republic of Tanzania.
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.