Geingob calls for urgent value addition in SADC

17 Aug 2015 16:50pm
By Maggy Thomas
GABORONE, 17 AUG (NAMPA) - President Hage Geingob on Monday urged SADC leaders to act with a sense of urgency to ensure that value addition becomes the mainstay of the region's economies.
“Exportation of raw materials simply means exportation of jobs. In effect, it denies us the opportunity to industrialise our countries and to fully develop our human capital,” he said while addressing SADC Heads of State and Government for the first time as Namibian President during the 35th Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ordinary Summit underway in Gaborone, Botswana.
“We need to bring a halt to the existing trend by which we trade in goods that we do not consume and consume goods that we do not produce,” said the Namibian leader.
He indicated that the region continues to make great strides towards a common vision of regional cooperation and integration.
“We have a lot to celebrate in SADC. Our people are free from the yoke of colonial rule and a strong democratic culture has been entrenched in our countries.
“Our economies have been stabilised and we have deepened economic integration through adoption and implementation of various protocols,” he said.
Geingob noted that the fiscal positions of their economies are strong and debt has been well contained.
“We can, therefore, confidently say that democratic and macroeconomic architecture is firmly in place,” he said.
On the political front, he said, African democratic institutions have matured, elections are free and fair, civil wars are no longer the order of the day and presidents retire with dignity, while those who assume power through coups d'état are not recognised.
“While we celebrate our successes and achievements with respect to our political and economic architecture, we also take note that poverty levels remain high. Many of our people lack basic needs.
“This is painful for a region abundant in natural resources. Our people do not eat natural resources, our people do not eat democracy, our people do not eat good constitutions,” said the Namibian Head of State.
Geingob explained that democracy is a condition sine qua non to provide the people with their basic needs.
He also noted that “for our economies to industrialise, reliable electricity supply is critical. Regional cooperation will be key to ensuring that SADC urgently resolves our electricity deficit”.
Another burning issue requiring regional cooperation is the severe drought, he said.
Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and most other SADC member states are battling low crop production and livestock distress following a disastrous 2014/15 farming season characterised by low, late rains, persistent heat waves and dry conditions.
The theme of the 35th SADC Summit is ‘Accelerating Industrialisation of SADC Economies through Transformation of Natural Endowment and Improved Human Capital’.
The Summit ends Tuesday.