Sadc to set up re­gional fund

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Mor­ris Mk­wate at Lozitha Palace, Swazi­land

SADC could soon estab­lish a fund to drive its ma­jor devel­op­ment pro­grammes and open a tech­ni­cal vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion univer­sity to bol­ster its in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion tra­jec­tory.

At the 36th Sadc Heads of State and Gov­ern­ment Sum­mit here yes­ter­day, newlyap­pointed Sadc Chair King Mswati III of Swazi­land said nu­mer­ous re­gional ini­tia­tives were stalling due to fund­ing in­ca­pac­ity.

King Mswati III, who took over the ro­ta­tional Sadc Chair­man­ship from Botswana Pres­i­dent Lieu­tenant-Gen­eral Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama, said his “en­er­gies are fo­cused to­wards rais­ing these funds”, and im­plored Mem­ber States to com­mit re­sources.

He also spoke on the im­per­a­tives of favourable in­vest­ment con­di­tions and re­gional unity.

The Sum­mit is themed “Re­source Mo­bil­i­sa­tion for In­vest­ment in Sus­tain­able En­ergy In­fra­struc­ture for an In­clu­sive Sadc In­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion for the Pros­per­ity of the Re­gion”.

It builds on the re­gional in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion agenda set by Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe dur­ing his ten­ure as Sadc Chair (Au­gust 2014-Au­gust 2015).

Present at the Sum­mit were Pres­i­dents Mu­gabe, Ja­cob Zuma (South Africa), Khama, Filipe Nyusi (Mozam­bique) and Hage Gein­gop (Namibia), Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili (Le­sotho), African Union Com­mis­sion Chair Dr Nkosazana Dh­lamini-Zuma and Sadc Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary Dr Ster­gom­ena Lawrence Tax.

King Mswati III said, “This (Sum­mit) theme is de­rived out of the de­sire to see the nu­mer­ous ini­tia­tives launched by Sadc over the years be­com­ing a re­al­ity for the ben­e­fit of our peo­ples.

“We have reached a junc­ture where, as Mem­ber States, we need to show com­mit­ment to our ob­jec­tives by con­tribut­ing to a fund that will serve as start-up cap­i­tal for our pro­grammes and projects.

“This fund can be used as col­lat­eral as we seek to raise fund­ing from ex­ter­nal re­sources to im­ple­ment in­fra­struc­ture projects in the re­gion.

“Dur­ing our ten­ure, we in­tend to fo­cus our en­er­gies to­wards rais­ing the funds, which, we hope, will not only come from Mem­ber States, but also from our in­ter­na­tional part­ners.”

The Sadc Chair said South­ern Africa should tar­get sus­tain­able en­ergy to ex­pand man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­ity and guar­an­tee in­clu­sive in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion. Sadc, he said, has im­mense po­ten­tial and should thus con­tinue cre­at­ing favourable in­vest­ment con­di­tions.

“As Heads of State and Gov­ern­ment, we should aim to de­velop the re­gion into one that of­fers the world a con­ducive in­vest­ment cli­mate that is ready to host any in­vestor in any coun­try of his/her choice. We need to at­tract in­dus­tries in re­search, ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing, tourism and fi­nance, among oth­ers, which can pro­vide the much-needed job-cre­ation, es­pe­cially for our youth. . . .Africans were not born to be poor. We are very ca­pa­ble of be­com­ing in­no­va­tive and cre­at­ing First World sta­tus for our na­tions. We must, how­ever, dis­card the ten­dency of fail­ing to sup­port one an­other.”

King Mswati III also said: “The King­dom of Swazi­land wishes to ded­i­cate the es­tab­lish­ment of a Sadc Univer­sity of Trans­for­ma­tion which will be the next mile­stone in our jour­ney which started in 1990.

“The Univer­sity of Trans­for­ma­tion will de­liver in ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing terms, us­ing the tech­ni­cal vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tional train­ing model of de­liv­ery.

“This ini­tia­tive will give new hope and op­por­tu­nity to youth and women. The in­ten­tion is to have the first in­take of stu­dents prior to the 37th Sum­mit in 2017.”

Pres­i­dent Khama said though Sadc faced sev­eral chal­lenges such as drought and con­stricted eco­nomic growth, in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion was gain­ing mo­men­tum.

He at­trib­uted the re­gion’s poor eco­nomic per­for­mance in 2015 to drought and fall­ing global oil prices, among other fac­tors.

“It is en­cour­ag­ing to note that ef­forts to­wards the re­gion’s new pro­cess of in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion con­tinue to gain mo­men­tum, and work on the prepa­ra­tion of the In­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion Ac­tion Plan is at an ad­vanced stage.

“I hope that with the adop­tion by Coun­cil (of Sadc Min­is­ters) at its next meet­ing in March 2017 with spe­cific ac­tion to­wards im­ple­men­ta­tion of agreed in­ter­ven­tions will ac­cel­er­ate in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion of the re­gion as well as pros­per­ity and wel­fare of our peo­ple.”

For­eign Af­fairs Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary Mr Joey Bimha told Zim­bab­wean jour­nal­ists that the Sum­mit was fo­cus­ing on re­gional in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion, and at­tempts by the El­ders Group com­pris­ing Kofi An­nan, Des­mond Tutu and Graca Machel to get Sadc lead­ers to “sup­port an in­clu­sive tran­si­tion in Zim­babwe” on the back of vi­o­lent op­po­si­tion demon­stra­tions were in­con­se­quen­tial.

Mr Bimha said: “This is not an is­sue we should be deal­ing with, re­ally. The agenda of Sadc is de­cided well be­fore the Sum­mit by the Sec­re­tar­iat in con­sul­ta­tion with the Chair and Deputy Chair of Sadc.

“And ac­cord­ing to my knowl­edge, no such is­sue was ever brought be­fore the Troika to have Zim­babwe on the agenda. It was never an is­sue at all.”

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