PRETORIA – President Robert Mugabe has arrived in Pretoria, South Africa to attend the 37th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).
He becomes one of the first leaders to arrive for the summit. Other Heads of State and Government are expected to arrive today and tomorrow.
The 2017 summit of the 15-nation sub-regional bloc will be held under the theme, “Partnering with the private sector in developing industry and regional value chains.”
South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Co-operation, Deputy Director General Xolisa Makaya, said the theme was aimed at addressing two key issues which can help move Sadc’s industrialisation agenda.
He said the first segment of the theme, “Partnering with the private sector,” was focused on the need to build the region’s capabilities both inside and outside of government to support industry, while the second component, “Developing industry and regional value chains”, focused on attracting private sector players to the prioritised value chains.
Sadc adopted the industrialisation programme during President Mugabe’s tenure as chairman of the regional bloc between 2014 and 2015.
The ambitious strategy and roadmap seeks to maximize earnings from the region’s abundant natural resources through value addition, to deepen integration, increase intra-trade as well as boost export earnings and create jobs to alleviate poverty.
And, Makaya said South Africa, which assumes chairmanship of the regional bloc at the Pretoria summit, would use its chairmanship to drive regional industrialisation and integration, with three potential growth paths – agro-processing, mineral beneficiation and downstream processing value chains having been identified.
As part of the overall aim of the summit, a regional industrialisation week was held from July 31 to Aug 4.
This event was a platform for engagement between public and private sectors in relation to the implementation of the Sadc industrialisation strategy.
The summit is also expected to pay tribute to the outgoing Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who will be stepping down this year after 37 years as Head of State.
“The summit is not only expected to bid farewell to President Dos Santos but to also thank him profoundly for the invaluable contribution and role to the liberation struggle in the region,” said Makaya.
The 37th session will also coincide with the 25th anniversary of the formation of SADC on Aug 17, 1992 in Windhoek, Namibia. Other items on the agenda include the election of the chairperson and deputy chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation and reviewing the political and security situation in the region, mainly in hotspots including Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Lesotho. – New Ziana