REPUBLIC OF MALAWI
CLOSING SPEECH BY HER EXCELLENCY DR. JOYCE BANDA
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALAWI
ON THE OCCASION OF THE OFFICIAL CLOSING OF THE 33RD ORDINARY SUMMIT OF
THE SADC HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT
SUNDAY, 18th AUGUST, 2013
Your Excellency, Armando Emilio Guebuza, Outgoing Chairperson of SADC, and President of the Republic of Mozambique;
Your Excellency, Jakaya Kikwete, Outgoing Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation, and President of the United Republic of Tanzania;
Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government;
Your Excellencies, First Spouses;
Your Excellency, Mrs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission;
Your Excellencies, High Commissioners and Ambassadors accredited to Malawi;
Your Excellency, Dr Tomaz Augusto Salomão, Outgoing SADC Executive Secretary;
Chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers;
Distinguished Delegates, Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
We have now come to the closing of the 33rd Ordinary Summit of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) after two days of intense and fruitful discussions here in Lilongwe.
On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Malawi, and indeed, on my own behalf, I would like to express my profound gratitude to Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government and heads of Delegation, and to all delegates for the dedication and commitment demonstrated at this important Summit meeting.
I wish to congratulate and welcome the incoming Deputy Chairperson of SADC His Excellency Robert Gabriel Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and the incoming Deputy Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation, His Excellency Right Honourable Thomas Thabane Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho. I look forward to working closely with you both in the coming year.
Allow me to extend my sincere tribute to Your Excellency Dr. Tomaz Augusto Salomao, the Outgoing Executive Secretary of SADC and your Staff for the unwavering support you have provided during your tenure of office. You have provided the Summit and its preceding meetings with professional advice on various important issues.
During your tenure, we have witnessed a number of Protocols being implemented and others coming into force.
These include among others the SADC Protocols on:
Trade, Finance and Investment;
Tourism, Transport, Communication and Meteorology;
Trade in Services;
Culture, Information and Sport; and
Gender and Development
In the same vein, I would like to congratulate and welcome the incoming Executive Director of SADC, Dr. Stergomena Tax of the United Republic of Tanzania, who will take her oath of office shortly. I look forward to working with you.
I am confident that we will work together to further the ideals, policies and programmes of our great regional grouping.
This appointment demonstrates SADC’s continued commitment to realise gender equality, equity and women’s empowerment.
You and I have no choice but to succeed.
I, being the first female Chair, and you, being the first female Executive Director, shall be expected to demonstrate our total commitment and determination to continue with the work of our brothers and take SADC to the next level.
Failing to do so would be failing our brothers who have provided the space for us to participate in shaping our region’s destiny. More importantly we shall let down fellow women who are counting on our success, as well as the girls of our region who look upon us as their role models.
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
Turning to the main outcomes of this Summit, I am pleased to note that we generally have peace and stability in the Region, despite a few pockets of political insecurity.
The Summit has noted the progress made in Zimbabwe under the Global Political Agreement signed in September 2008; and commended the successful Referendum for the new Constitution in March 2013, as well as the peaceful conduct of the harmonized elections of 31st July, 2013.
On behalf of SADC, I wish to commend all parties in Zimbabwe for their commitment in implementing the Global Political Agreement. I wish to urge all stakeholders in Zimbabwe to continue to work together to move the country forward. SADC calls upon the international community to review their position on sanctions following the progress being made in Zimbabwe.
Furthermore, I wish to commend His Excellency Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa and the South African Government for their leadership in guiding the implementation of the Global Political Agreement on Zimbabwe.
Yesterday, we discussed our concerns about the political situation in Madagascar. Your Excellencies, I am pleased to state that, today, nine candidates have withdrawn from the race. One has withdrawn voluntarily and the other eight have withdrawn due to a ruling by the Electoral Court. This is good news for the SADC region.
It also vindicates that the long and painful efforts of SADC, through its Mediator, former President Joaquim Chisano of Mozambique, are paying dividends.
We remain concerned about the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the Eastern Part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. We reiterate our call for engagement among all political stakeholders, in order to find a lasting solution for peace, security and stability in the region. We also appeal to all stakeholders to consider engaging all the negative forces so that a lasting solution in the Great Lakes Region is found.
On the economic front, the Summit noted food security and nutrition as the major economic challenge facing our region. In support of this, the Summit unanimously supported the proposed theme for my Chairmanship: Agricultural Development and Agro-Industries: Key to Economic Growth and Poverty Eradication.
We agreed that with respect to the specific issues of food security and nutrition, two ministerial committees should meet as soon as possible. The first committee will be tasked with identifying concrete strategies that can address both the short and long term challenges in achieving food security for our nations.
The second committee will discuss and design strategies to upscale interventions on nutrition.
My Government will engage aggressively on the theme after the Summit, through consultations with the Council of Ministers and the Secretariat. We will work on designing a programme that responds to the specific needs of all our Member States.
Furthermore, I want to make sure that value addition and regional value chains are embedded in the SADC agenda to facilitate agro-processing.
The policies on agriculture, infrastructure and industrial development must not work in isolation but should be coordinated and complement each other. We sincerely hope that economic policy coordination in the SADC system will be harnessed in order not only to accelerate growth but also to reduce poverty, widen economic opportunities and enhance human development.
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen
I am glad that this morning during the Aids Watch Africa Breakfast meeting we had a chance to discuss the need to accelerate efforts towards the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria within the SADC region. We noted the need to look for innovative solutions for local resource mobilization, to learn more from each other within the region, and to find ways to promote domestic drug manufacturing. The Summit also noted the stubborn link between nutrition and HIV/AIDS.
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen
The Mid-Term Review of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan for the period of 2005-2020 is central to the realisation of the objectives and goals of the SADC Treaty.
My Government commits itself to fully participate in the development of the revised Plan.
I would also like to underscore the importance of finalising the establishment of the SADC Regional Development Fund at the earliest possible time, noting that adequate financial resources are essential to realize our objectives.
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen>
In a special way, I want to give thanks to the outgoing Chairperson of SADC, His Excellency Armando Guebuza, particularly for his proactive and collaborative leadership that has strengthened the ties between our nations.
I hope that we can continue to build these links, and that our people can also benefit from increased collaboration across borders. Experience has shown that often the relationship between leaders has a bearing on how the peoples of those countries will live together, trade together, and maximize other opportunities.
In conclusion, let me once again, state that my Government is greatly honoured to assume the SADC Chairmanship. Our primary goal will be to advance the region’s socio-economic and political interests for the wellbeing of our people. I truly believe we owe it to them.
I have been assured of support from all of you. In that regard, I am encouraged to continue the push for a better life for all of the people of our region.
With these remarks, I would like to declare that the 33rd Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government is formally closed.
I wish Your Excellencies and all the distinguished delegates a safe trip back home.
Thank you for your kind attention