We are extremely honoured to have been elected as the incoming Chairperson of SADC. This is a responsibility we take very seriously.
We therefore extend our profound gratitude to SADC Member States for the trust and confidence bestowed on us. We equally wish to affirm our total commitment to carrying out this huge responsibility to the best of our abilities. We accepted this honour as our contribution to our regional integration agenda.
Allow me to pay tribute to our Chair, His Majesty King Mswati III for the legendary hospitality extended to us since our arrival in this great Kingdom, a Kingdom that is uniquely steeped in its rich culture. Some of us had the honour to attend the Umhlanga Reed Dance, where we witnessed the rich culture that epitomises this Kingdom.
We commend your exemplary leadership during this Summit. There is no doubt in our minds that a lot will be achieved under your able stewardship.
Your Excellencies and ladies and gentlemen,
We also wish to take this opportunity to commend and congratulate His Excellency, Lt., Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama President of the Republic of Botswana for his sterling work during his tenure as Chair of glorious organisation. We appreciate his contribution to the well-being of our Community by convening several Ministerial Workshops on poverty eradication and food security, access to energy and water and illegal trade in wildlife.
We also wish to extend our profound gratitude to our statesman President Robert Mugabe for his vision on Regional Economic Integration in particular the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan and Industrialisation Strategy and its Roadmap.
Allow us to congratulate Tanzania for her election as the Chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.
On the same token we congratulate Angola for election as the Incoming Chair of the Organ. We equally salute President Nyusi of Mozambique for his commendable leadership of the Organ during his tenure.
It is our considered view that the Organ under his able leadership was able to assist the Region in the critical area of peace and security.
As we thank His Majesty, we also need to acknowledge the great and monumental steps which we have taken towards regional integration.
Our adoption in 2015 of the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (2015-2020) together with the Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap was a key milestone in our march towards regional economic integration.
What we now need is not only to work on an implementation mechanism of these important instruments, but we also need to pay a particular focus on prioritisation and sequencing of identified projects in order to have maximum regional impact.
For this to happen, it is critical that we identify high priority cross-border projects that are bankable and financed.
Our abundant natural resources should enable us to create regional value chains, to enhance industrialisation, growth and development.
Critically important is a need to capacitate the SADC Secretariat to drive our regional integration agenda.
Your Majesty, King Mswati III,
It is with great honour and privilege that we extend an invite to you all to the 37th Ordinary SADC Summit which will be held in South Africa in August 2017.
The Government and people of South Africa will be looking forward to welcoming you to our shores.