By Richard Chiwayula
Malawi’s State President Dr Lazarus Chakwera says Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) faces a daunting challenge to live the dream of economic freedom, an aspiration championed by the grouping’s founding leaders.
The President was speaking at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe during the 40th Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) hosted by Mozambique virtually due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The Malawi leader said the country is in solidarity with all member states in pursuing the SADC agenda.
“I believe that the combination of strengths and shared values between us in this present moment represents a unique opportunity to achieve this within the next few years, an opportunity worth seizing. I also believe that it is a divine opportunity, for it is by the Providence of God that we are bound to one another by history, culture, and a shared journey of liberation.
“For us as Malawians, we feel this undeniable bond whenever we travel beyond our border, which is why I have never accepted that Malawi is land-locked, but rather land-linked, for we are inextricably linked to our SADC brothers on all sides, and I can assure you that we would not have it any other way.
Chakwera added: “From this perspective, I humbly request you, the In-coming Chairman, my brother and neighbor, Your Excellency Felipe Nyusi, to give us all no rest during your tenure until we join hands in honoring the legacy of Late Benjamin Mkapa by fully liberalizing trade across the SADC region and unlock the economic possibilities that our peoples dream of.”
The outgoing SADC Chair John Pombe Magufuli, who is also president of Tanzania, applauded efforts by member states for maintaining peace and focusing on development agenda.
He singled out Malawi and the Kingdom of Lesotho among others for following peaceful processes in conducting elections. He further called on development partners to lift economic sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Newly elected SADC Chair, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, said he will work closely with the member states to fulfill the mission of SADC for economic liberation of the region.
“I accept the mandate to take the mantle of Chairmanship of SADC which has just been entrusted on me in this memorable ordinary session of our virtual summit with humility and high sense of responsibility for the mission.
Nyusi added: “The people of Mozambique are by nature resilient and hardworking therefore we commit to fulfill the mission and obligation with support of each member state.”
He paid tribute to the founders of SADC “whose contributions and vision led to the political and economic liberation of the region. We are certain that we will drive our organisation to new heights of a shared future, prosperity and well being for which we have always strived.”
SADC was established in Lusaka Zambia in 1980 with overarching objective of achieving development, peace, security, economic growth, to alleviate poverty and enhance the standard and quality of life of Southern Africa citizens.