The Republic of South Africa has formally assumed the Chairpersonship of the SADC Council of Ministers. Honourable Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, took over the Chairpersonship from His Royal Highness Prince Hlangusemphi Dlamini, Minister of Economic Planning and Development of the Kingdom of Swaziland at the opening of the 37th SADC Council of Ministers held at OR Tambo on 15th August, 2017.
In her acceptance speech, Hon Nkoana-Mashabane thanked the outgoing Chairperson for his excellent stewardship of the Council, saying she will continue to steer the Council in its journey towards regional integration.
She said SADC objectives are informed by the SADC Common Agenda which comprises of agreed blueprints such as the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (2015-2020), the Regional Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap, the Strategic Indicative Plan of the Organ II and the Regional Infrastructure Development Masterplan.
“Guided by our identified priorities as well as the leadership demonstrated by previous Chairs, South Africa’s theme for the Chairpersonship of SADC and the 37th Ordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government is “Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains”, said Hon Nkoana-Mashabane.
She added that the theme picks up on the already identified importance of Industrialisation for the prosperity of the region and seeks to strengthen the region’s capacity to realise Industrialisation and economic transformation through partnership with the private sector.
Hon Prince Hlangusephi congratulated the new Chairperson for assuming an important role in SADC and called on Council members to support the new Chairperson in her new role.
“It is clear that we all remain resolute to eradication of poverty to improve the welfare of the people of the region. Our commitment is to ensure that the incoming Chair gets the full support as we continue with the implementation of the SADC Agenda, said Hon Hlangusephi.
He called on the Council, under the leadership of the new Chairperson, to fast track the operationalization of the SADC University of Transformation in order to benefit the process of industrialization’.
He also applauded the support SADC received from the private sector, institutional investors and development partners during the High Level Ministerial Workshop and Energy Investment Forum held in Ezulwini, Kingdom of Swaziland on 12-13 July, 2017.
In her welcome remarks, the Executive Secretary of SADC, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax expressed gratitude for the able leadership of Hon Prince Hlangusephi during his tenure as Chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers.
Dr Tax said owing to the guidance and unwavering support from the outgoing Council Chairperson, SADC made tremendous progress, citing as examples, the approval of the Industrialisation Costed Action Plan, the profiling of the mineral and pharmaceutical sectors, the endorsement of the Regional Agricultural Investment Plan 2017-2022 in March 2017 and the increased number of Member States on the SADC Integrated Regional Electronic Settlement System (SIRESS).
“I forward to the sterling leadership of Honourable Nkoana-Mashabane and her team during the next twelve months, as we continue on our quest for sustainable socio-economic development, and poverty eradication in the region,” said Dr Tax.
During two days, the Ministers of the fifteen Member States will discuss received from the meetings of Senior Officials and the Finance and Audit Committee held 10-13 August. Council will discuss items to be submitted to the Heads of State and Government for approval at their Summit to be held on19-20 August, 2017.