18 Aug 2018 10:00am
WINDHOEK, 18 AUG (NAMPA) It is important for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region to be reminded about the Treaty of its establishment, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said Friday.
He said this in his speech during the official opening ceremony of the 38th SADC Summit held under the theme Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development.
Ramaphosa particularly highlighted the Treaty objectives to forge regional integration, better the lives of the people, promote democracy and economic prosperity and ensure peace and security.
Despite the clear intent in the Treaty, our region is still confronted with many challenges, including a lack of adequate infrastructure, underdevelopment, poverty, the effects of climate change, and the spread of communicable diseases, he noted.
According to him, the organisation is on a positive trajectory in responding to these challenges.
Ramaphosa added that the region has in the recent past developed key plans that guide its efforts to realise its mandate, such as the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (2015-2020) and the regional Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap.
He emphasised that together, all the plans are critical for deepening regional integration among SADC member states and ensuring the sustainable development of the region.
Our priorities are inextricably linked to the continental agenda, and in particular the implementation of the African Unions Agenda 2063.
These priorities also require that we continue with our efforts to support the SADC-EAC (East African Community)-COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) Tripartite Free Trade as an important building block towards the achievement of the African Continental Free Trade Area, he concluded.
Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi, who attended the summit for the first time as president, in his maiden speech pledged his unwavering commitment to SADC and commended the bloc on the progress made in peace and security in the region.
The SADC region should take advantage of financial opportunities presented by public-private partnerships in order to help meet the financial constraints it is struggling with, he urged.