Sadc outgoing chair pays tribute to founding fathers
Cletus Mushanawani in Pretoria, South Africa
PRESIDENT Mugabe will today join other Heads of State from the region for the two-day 37th Sadc Summit at OR Tambo Building in Pretoria.
President Mugabe, who is one of the founding fathers of Sadc, arrived in South Africa on Wednesday night.
He is among Sadc leaders who received special mention from the outgoing chairman, His Majesty King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland during his Sadc Day speech on Thursday.
King Mswati III said: “Let me start off by paying tribute to the founding fathers of Sadc for their vision for a common future for the Sadc organisation to improve the lives of their people.
“Since 1980, the institution they conceptualised and established has not only stood the test of time, but also grown from strength to strength. I am happy that some of the founding fathers are still with us and they continue to be a valuable source of wisdom for Sadc and future generations to come.”
The summit is running under the theme: “Partnering with the private sector in developing industry and regional value-chains.”
King Mswati called on Sadc citizens and leaders to confront challenges that still beset the region such as food and water insecurity, energy insecurity, transnational drugs, human trafficking, smuggling, money laundering, cyber security, climate change, environmental degradation, and youth unemployment.
“While our Sadc region continues to be peaceful and stable, on the social and economic front, there have been few other potential issues that require regional and national preventative and mitigation measures. These are food, water and energy insecurity, transnational drugs, human trafficking, smuggling, money laundering, cyber security and climate change as well as environmental degradation.
“The challenges of unemployment especially among our youths in the region needs to be tackled through a concerted effort from all sectors to empower them.”
“The industrialisation process in Sadc should be inclusive to involve the youth as well as women so that they can benefit directly from the process of economic and technological transformation.”
He also buttressed President Mugabe’s call of empowering youths through vocational skills.
“One of the strategies to involve the youths is through Sadc education and training programmes especially vocational skills in the fields of Science, Technology and innovation which are relevant and key for industries.
“Education is key to capacity development and for Sadc to graduate to a competitive knowledge-based economy, high level specialisation will be crucial, notably tertiary education and specialisations in Science and Engineering disciplines. After a successful year, King Mswati III will today hand over the Sadc chairpersonship to President Jacob Zuma of South Africa.