The High Commissioners of the Governments of Kenya and Nigeria to Botswana and special representatives to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on 27th November, 2018 presented their Letters of Credence to the SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax at separate functions that took place at the SADC Secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana.
First to present his letters of credence was His Excellency Ambassador Umar Zainab Salisu of the Republic of Nigeria. H.E. Dr Tax welcomed H.E. Ambassador Salisu and congratulated him on being appointed and accredited to represent the Government of Nigeria to SADC. The two agreed to enhance their cooperation between Nigeria and the SADC region by, among other things, taking advantage of the strategic role of Nigeria as the current President of the Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS) to enhance cooperation in the areas of economic integration; peace and security; money laundering; human trafficking; and child labour. They also agreed to enhance the collaboration between SADC and ECOWAS by entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to firm up ways and means of engagement.
H.E. Dr Tax and H.E. Ambassador Salisu underscored the need to explore more areas of cooperation, for the realization of the African Union Agenda 2063, a strategic framework for socio-economic transformation of the African continent. The two parties noted that, through combined and collaborative efforts of ECOWAS and SADC in various areas of socio-economic development, Africa can move forward to address the continent’s most pressing challenges. It was also recognized that the African Union (AU) Reforms, in particular the division of labour between the AU and RECs presents an opportunity for the two RECs to work together, noting that the First Coordination Summit between the AU and RECs will be convened in June /July 2019, with the RECs expected to present reports on the status of integration within their respective regions.
Presenting his letters of credence later, H.E. Ambassador Mohamed Shidiye of the Republic of Kenya expressed gratitude to H.E. Dr Tax for receiving letters of credence. H.E. Ambassador Shidiye informed the Executive Secretary that the Republic of Kenya is committed to further strengthen cooperation and enhance relations with SADC to accelerate regional and continental integration.
Ambassador Mohamed Shidiye highlighted that the Government of Kenya was committed to working with SADC through the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) involving the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and SADC. On this note, Ambassador Mohamed Shidiye said Kenya has already ratified the agreement for the TFTA. H.E. Dr Tax said SADC is encouraging its Member States to ratify the TFTA to support the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015 – 2063
H.E Shidiye assured the SADC Executive Secretary that Kenya will continue sharing ideas on sectors relevant to the advancement of socio-economic development of the African continent such as trade, climate change, environment, infrastructure services and migration.
During the presentations of the letters of credence from the two High Commissioners and Special Representatives, the parties noted that African states have a lot in common and that, with effective cooperation, the African continent was capable of achieving a lot due to its natural resources endowment , coupled with conducive climate that makes Africa a competitive global performer.
Kenya and Nigeria are some of the biggest economies in East Africa and West Africa respectively. Both countries play significant roles in their respective Regional Economic Communities; namely the East African Community (EAC) and ECOWAS.