Malawi Is New SADC Chair, Israel AU Status Rejected

The just-ended 41st ordinary summit in Lilongwe elected Malawi President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, as Chairperson of Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The summit was held under the theme, “SADC 40 Years Building Peace and Security, and Promoting Development and Resilience in the Face of Global Challenges”

The two-day summit ended Wednesday with a message of gratitude to Zambia’s Edgar Chagwa Lungu who lost the presidential election in his country earlier in the week.

Bidding the Zambian leader farewell, the summit commended the people and the Zambia government, “for conducting successful elections, and congratulated H.E. Hakainde Hichilema for winning the elections”.

The summit thanked Lungu for “his leadership and contribution to SADC development and integration during his tenure as president of Zambia and for nobly accepting the results of the 2021 presidential elections in the Republic of Zambia”.

Member states also commended outgoing chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, Botswana President Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, “for his outstanding leadership and continued efforts to address peace and security threats during the year, notwithstanding challenges posed by Covid-19”.

Summit endorsed an action plan for the implementation of the security threats report and urged member states to implement interventions contained therein.

The summit expressed concern and objected to the unilateral decision taken by the African Union Commission to grant the State of Israel Observer Status to the African Union.

The facilitator to the Kingdom of Lesotho, South Africa President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, gave an update on the implementation of SADC decisions in the Kingdom of Lesotho.

He commended the Kingdom of Lesotho for the progress made in implementing SADC decisions and the ongoing reforms.

The summit also urged Lesotho to expedite the completion of the ongoing reforms and to continue with the peace, transitional justice, and reconciliation process to engender national unity and bring about national healing and cohesion.

An extension of the mandate of the National Reform Authority for six months, from 30th October 2021 to 30th April 2022, was also recommended.

The summit commended Ramaphosa, “for his dedication and continued facilitation, and extended his mandate as the SADC Facilitator until the 42nd Summit of Heads of State and Government”.

There were also updates on the security situation in Cabo Delgado province, in northern Mozambique. The summit commended member states for pledging personnel and providing financial support towards the deployment of the SADC Standby Force to Mozambique.

Tanzania was also commended for offering to host the Regional Counter-Terrorism Centre, which will offer dedicated and strategic advisory services to the region on terrorism threats.

Reports were tabled on the socio-economic overview in the region, regional food, and nutrition, security, gender, development, and HIV-AIDS.

The summit reaffirmed the stated desire to create the SADC Central Bank and Monetary Union, as a long-term objective to be premised on fulfilling pre-conditions that include, the harmonisation of the fiscal and monetary policies of member countries, and greater convergence of banking systems.

In this regard, the African Monetary Institute and the African Central Bank should be long-term objectives.

It endorsed “Bolstering Productive Capacities in the Face of Covid-19 Pandemic for Inclusive, Sustainable Economic and Industrial Transformation” as a summit theme.

The theme takes forward the implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063, with a specific focus on enhancing regional productive capacities.

The summit approved the transformation of the SADC Parliamentary Forum into a SADC Parliament as a consultative and deliberative body.

Member states also approved the Protocol on Statistics and an Agreement Amending the SADC Protocol on Energy.

The summit expressed concern on the implications of the Post-Cotonou Agreement and the Neighbourhood Development and International Cooperation Instrument over potential risks to fragment the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States.

The summit also reiterated its call on the unconditional removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe. Member states pledged support for Zimbabwe in its  ongoing socio-economic strengthening efforts.

Elias Mpedi Magosi was appointed as the new Executive Secretary of SADC to replace Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax.

Outgoing Chairperson of SADC Mozambique President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi was commended for “his exemplary leadership during his tenure”.

Member states extended their appreciation to the government and people of Malawi for a successful 41st Summit.

Chairperson of SADC Malawi President Chakwera, expressed gratitude to all the heads of state and government for attending the summit.

The next summit will take place in the Democratic Republic of Congo in August 2022.