The Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), His Majesty King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland today, 17th August, 2017, delivered his SADC Day Message, expressing optimism of the SADC Regional Integration agenda and development of the region.
SADC Day is commemorated on 17th August every year. This is the day when SADC citizens commemorate the birth of SADC by reflecting on the progress made in the implementation of the SADC Regional Integration Agenda and the region’s future for prosperity.
In the message, King Mswati III paid tribute to the SADC Founding Fathers for their vision in creating a common future to improve the lives of the SADC citizens, saying since 1980, SADC has not only evolved and stood the test of time, but has also grown from strength to strength.
“I am encouraged by the growing awareness and participation of our people in the implementation of the SADC Programmes and Projects. I do hope this will gradually move the region towards achieving the goals for which SADC was established which is to reduce the levels of poverty and improve the standard of living of the people in the Region,” said King Mswati III.
He said in the past few years SADC has made tremendous strides in accelerating the pace of regional integration by, among others, reviewing the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), reviewing the Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ, development of a Regional Infrastructure Master Plan and development of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015 -2063) and its costed Action Plan.
“The need and importance of industrializing the SADC region cannot be over-emphasized and this calls for fast action in ensuring that SADC macroeconomic policy environment is improved, developing capabilities and capacities to underpin transformation and strengthening competitive production, the need to remove infrastructural impediments to industrialization and identifying key value chains for the global markets,” said King Mswai III, adding that there is need to closely collaborate with the private sector as the engine of growth and other stakeholders such as think- tanks and academia.
The SADC Chairperson underscored the importance of Infrastructure development in the process of industrialization in line with the theme of the 36th Ordinary SADC Summit in Ezulwini, Kingdom of Swaziland in 2016: Resource Mobilisation for Investment in Sustainable Energy Infrastructure for an Inclusive SADC Industrialisation for the Prosperity of the Region”.
He expressed hope that the High Level Ministerial workshop and Energy Investment Forum which was held at Ezulwini to operationalise the theme will bear the desired fruits of mobilizing resources from investors for the SADC region.
“It is my hope that by 2063, in line with the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063 as well as the African Union Agenda 2063, the SADC Region’s industrial landscape will completely be different from what it is at present,” said King Mswati III.
On peace and security, King Mswati said he is proud that the SADC Region continues to enjoy relative peace and stability, saying there is increased drive among citizens and political leaders to resolve their differences amicably through contact and dialogue, recognizing that they are bound by common history, shared ancestry and above all, a common future as brothers and sisters.
He 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.
After a successful year, the Chairperson of SADC, His Majesty King Mswati III will on Saturday, 19th August 2017, hand over the SADC Chairpersonship to His Excellency President Jacob Zuma of the Republic of South Africa at the opening of the 37th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government to be held at OR Tambo Building, Pretoria, South Africa. The theme of the Summit is: partnering with the private sector in developing industry and regional value chains.