It has been an honour and privilege to have been entrusted to preside over the chairmanship of SADC Group of Heads of Mission in New Delhi. On the 17th August 2019, I assumed this honourable Chair from my Colleague, the High Commissioner of Namibia to India. I can attest that it has been a very exciting year but yet a very challenging one. As you are aware, over the past eight (08) months, the world has been facing an acute and unprecedented health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Allow me to express my gratitude to your good selves for the unwavering support and cooperation during my tenure as Chairperson, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic. The cooperation rendered to me personally, and to my team, generally, has permitted us to conduct the affairs of the Group for the past year in an efficient and effective manner.
Indeed, thanks to our combined efforts, we have been able to continue implementing our regional integration agenda, including our theme for the past one year, which was coined as “A Conducive Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, increased intra-regional trade, and job creation”. All Member States have continued to implement regional programmes and projects in line with the theme; and the results have been outstanding.
Additionally, we have continued to implement our Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), which ended this year; 2020; and also embarked on developing the new SADC Vision for the next 30 years, which was anchored on “the SADC We Want”. This has shown how committed our region is in fulfilling its integration agenda.
The time has now come for me to pass on the baton to a new dynamic leadership to propel SADC to the next level of our economic and political trajectory.
As you are all aware, the SADC Heads of Mission Group in New Delhi is composed of 14 Member States namely: Angola, Botswana, DRC Congo, Mauritius, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, Namibia, Lesotho, Tanzania, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Whereas Eswatini does not maintain a Mission in New Delhi, the Comoros has a Consulate with a Consul General with Indian nationality.
The Group follows the SADC tradition of holding an office for a period of one year as prescribed in Articles of the SADC Constitutive Act.
II. ADMINISTRATION MATTERS
As I have stated at the beginning, Tanzania was handed over the chairmanship of this Group on 27th August 2019 from Namibia.
During our tenure of office, five (05) Heads of Mission completed their tour of duty namely; Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar and Seychelles. At the same time, two (02) Heads of Mission (Seychelles and Lesotho) and two (02) Charge D’Affaires (Madagascar and Botswana) were received.
During the same period, eight (08) meetings were successfully held despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic, Again, some important decisions were taken where required, leading to, amongst others:
- The convening of the CII-EXIM Bank Regional Conclave on India and Southern African countries which was held successfully in Lusaka, Zambia on 14-15 October 2019.
- The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and the SADC Business Council for cooperation during the India-Tanzania Business Forum which was held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on 05 December 2019.
- The release of a joint statement by the SADC Heads of Mission based in New Delhi on 25 October 2019 to condemn the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe was drafted, endorsed and delivered to the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India to solicit their support in condemning those unfair and unilateral illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
- Creation of a Social Welfare Committee/Protocol Committee by members from Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, D.R. Congo, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa.
- Creation of Economic Diplomacy Committee comprising Commercial Attachés from the Group
- Commemoration of the SADC Day on 02 November 2019 at the residence of the Chairperson
- Review of annual subscription fees from the previous amount of Rs. 15,000.00 to Rs. 30,000.00 (double increase) so as to strengthen the financial base of the Group and be self-dependent in conducting the affairs of the Group.
- Conducting a successful Webinar Conference on 17 August 2020 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of SADC. The conference drew the attention of about 219 live viewers from across the world.
At the time of assuming chairmanship, the opening balance of the SADC Heads of Mission account was INR. 439,017.87 (Four lakh, thirty-nine thousand seventeen and eight seven cents). Most of this fund amount was spent during the SADC Day in November 2019 and for other overhead expenses.
The balance at the Bank as of today, 28th August 2020 is Rs. 359,097.87 (Three lakh fifty-nine thousand ninety-seven and eight seven cents) which means that 11 member states have paid their subscription fees for the year 2020/2021 which started in April 2020.
I wish to sincerely commend members who have fulfilled their obligation and urge the remaining three members to follow suit.
IV. TANZANIA’S NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS DURING TENURE OF OFFICE
Notwithstanding the challenges posed by COVID-19, the region managed to push forward the 39th SADC Summit Theme, that of “A Conducive Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, increased intra-regional trade, and job creation”. Several milestones were achieved in this regard, including the signing of the Protocol on Industry by 12 Member States, following its approval by Summit in August 2019.
i. During the year, the region also commissioned 3,595 Megawatts (MW) of electricity, contributed by Angola, DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Tanzania. The commissioned capacity is approximately 90 percent of the targeted capacity of 4,000 MW. This is commendable, considering that electricity is one of the key drivers for industrialization, productivity growth and economic development.
ii. As part of the SADC Regional Response to COVID-19, the region resolved to enhance regional pharmaceutical manufacturing capacities, whereby Member States were encouraged to develop local and regional pharmaceutical manufacturing capacities that were safe and uphold highest standards of integrity. This is a noble step, which needs to be safeguarded and emulated in other critical sectors of SADC economies, especially as part of the SADC industrialization agenda.
iii. Furthermore, the region developed SADC Guidelines on Movement of Goods and Services across the region during COVID-19, and Standard Operating Procedures. The guidelines and the Standard Operating Procedures have greatly facilitated movement of essential goods, and gradually movement of all goods and services. This milestone contributed not only to containment of the spread of COVID-19, but also enabled the mitigation of socio-economic hardships to SADC citizens, while minimizing disruptions to economic activities in the region.
iv. In line with the directive of the SADC Council of Ministers meeting of 29 May 2020, the SADC Secretariat in collaboration with COMESA and EAC Secretariats developed Tripartite Harmonized Guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures for Transport and Trade Facilitation during COVID-19, which were approved by the COMESA-EAC- SADC Tripartite Council of Ministers on 29 June 2020. The Tripartite Harmonized Guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures would be complemented by two Electronic Systems, namely the Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System that had been piloted in some corridors in the EAC region; and the Corridor Trip Monitoring System, which would be piloted in some parts of North South Corridor. Those systems would enable COMESA, EAC and SADC to efficiently manage registration of cross border trips; the recording, monitoring and surveillance of driver wellness; tracking of vehicles, vehicle loads and drivers; contact tracing; and to manage queues at borders and ports.
V. In recognition that the impacts of COVID-19 cut across a number of sectors, an in-depth analysis was carried out on the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 on SADC economies. The Assessment indicated that in 2019/20, the economic performance of the region slowed down with real Gross Domestic Product growth averaging 2.0 percent, while annual inflation increased to an average of 12.1 percent in 2019 from an average of 8.2 percent in 2018. The regional economic growth is expected to contract by an average of about 3.8 percent in 2020, mainly due to the adverse impacts of COVID-19. The assessment also presented detailed sectoral impacts, and proposed recommendations that were approved by the Summit on 17th August 2020.
vii. In our collective efforts to consolidate peace, stability and democratic governance, our SADC region remained peaceful and stable during the year, and continued to uphold democratic principles. Since August 2019, five (5) Member States, namely Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique and Namibia held elections, while the Kingdom of Lesotho witnessed a peaceful transfer of power in May 2020 following the resignation of the Former Prime Minister. In that regard, we congratulate Governments and people of those Member States for the peaceful and successful elections, and for upholding SADC democratic principles, and congratulate elected or re-elected and appointed leaders.
viii. Additionally, we have continued to implement our Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2015-2020, which ends this year; 2020; and also developed the new one, RISDP (2020-2030) which resulted to the development of the SADC Vision 2050 for the next 30 years, which were both were approved by the Summit on 17th August 2020.
ix. Furthermore, we adopted Kiswahili as the fourth official language of the organization, along with English, Portuguese and French.
As demonstrated by the foregoing achievements, COVID-19 has among others, taught us that we can deliver even under challenging circumstances, as long as we remain vigilant, put in place the needed measures, and establish an environment that will enable us to mitigate the risks and address the challenges. We commend all SADC Member States for the difficult decisions and the rigorous measures put in place to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19, reduce human suffering, and minimize the damage to SADC economies.
V. 40th SADC Summit:
The Summit was held virtually on 17th to 18th August 2020
(i). Summit expressed deepest condolences to the Mkapa Family and the Government and People of the United Republic of Tanzania following the passing on of H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa, 3rd President of the United Republic of Tanzania, and paid tribute to H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa as one of the region’s leaders who contributed greatly to the fight for liberation, development, peace, security and stability of the region.
(ii). Summit elected H.E Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique, as Chairperson of SADC, and H.E. President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, President of the Republic of Malawi as Incoming Chairperson of SADC.
(iii). Summit also elected H.E. Dr. Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana, as Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, and H.E. Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic South Africa as Incoming Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.
(iv). Summit received a report on SADC integration from the Outgoing Chairperson of SADC, H.E. President Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli and on the implementation of the Theme of the 39th Summit of Heads of State and Government, and commended the Outgoing Chairperson of SADC, for his principled and exemplary leadership during his tenure, notwithstanding the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
(v). Summit congratulated the people and the Governments of the Republics of Mozambique, Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia and Malawi for conducting successful elections, and congratulated H.E. Filipe Jacinto Nyusi; H.E. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi; H.E. Hage Gottfried Geingob; H.E. Pravind Jugnauth; and H.E. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera for winning the elections. Summit also congratulated Right Honourable Moeketsi Majoro for his appointment as the new Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho.
(vi). Summit received a report on the Socio-Economic impacts of COVID-19 on SADC economies, noted its effects across sectors, and approved the proposed measures that are to address the sectoral effects.
(vii). Summit endorsed an enhanced Macroeconomic Convergence Surveillance Mechanism that includes high frequency data to complement, but not replace, the existing Macroeconomic Convergence mechanism.
(viii). Summit approved the SADC Vision 2050, which is based on a firm foundation of Peace, Security and Democratic Governance, and premised on three interrelated Pillars, namely: Industrial Development and Market Integration; Infrastructure Development in support of Regional Integration; and Social and Human Capital Development. The three pillars also recognize Gender, Youth, Environment and Climate Change, and Disaster Risk Management as important cross-cutting components. Summit also approved the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan 2020-2030 to operationalize the Vision 2050.
(ix). Summit endorsed the Theme of the 40th Summit of Heads of State and Government, “SADC 40 Years Building Peace and Security, and Promoting Development and Resilience in the Face of Global Challenges”.
(x). Summit approved the Mechanism in Honour of the Founders of SADC, and urged Member States to operationalize the Mechanism.
(xi). Summit endorsed a Five Year Sustainable Self Financing Plan for SADC Electoral Observation Missions covering 2021 – 2025.
(xii). Summit re-emphasized the need to fully implement the SADC Protocol on Gender, and put in place concrete measures to improve the representation of women and youth in elected political positions.
(xiii). Summit received a report of the Outgoing Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, H.E. President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, and commended him for his outstanding leadership during his tenure.
(xiv). Summit received an Assessment Report on emerging Security Threats in the Region, commended the Secretariat for the Detailed Report, and directed the Secretariat to prepare an action plan for its implementation, that will among others, prioritize measures to combat terrorism, violent attacks and cybercrime; and to address adverse effects of climate change.
(xv). Summit welcomed the decision by the Government of the Republic of Mozambique to bring to the attention of SADC the violent attacks situation in the country, and commended the country for its continued efforts towards combating terrorism and violent attacks.
(xvi). Summit expressed SADC solidarity and commitment to support Mozambique in addressing the terrorism and violent attacks, and condemned all acts of terrorism and armed attacks.
(xvii). Summit urged Member States to take pro-active measures to mitigate external interference, the impact of fake news and the abuse of social media, especially in electoral processes.
(xviii). Summit reiterated SADC’s position on the reconfiguration of the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as submitted to the UN Secretary General, which, among others, emphasizes that the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) should not be tampered with.
(xix). Summit expressed its gratitude to the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) Troop Contributing Countries for the continued support to peace and security in the eastern DRC, and reiterated SADC’s continued support to the DRC.
(xx). Summit received a progress report on the political and security situation in the Kingdom of Lesotho by the SADC Facilitator to the Kingdom of Lesotho, H.E. Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, and commended the Government and people of the Kingdom of Lesotho for the smooth and peaceful transition of power.
(xxi). Summit welcomed the commitment of the new Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho to ensure the full and comprehensive implementation of the reforms process, and encouraged the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho to keep the momentum in the implementation of the SADC decisions, and submit a progress to the next Summit in August 2021.
(xxii). Summit commended the SADC Facilitator to the Kingdom of Lesotho H.E. Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa for his continued facilitation.
(xxiii). Summit received a report on the DRC - Zambia Border Issue, and commended the Governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Republic of Zambia for their commitment to resolve the border issue amicably.
(xxiv). Summit approved an Agreement amending the SADC Protocol on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials.
(xxv). Summit approved an Agreement between the Governments of the Member States of the Southern African Development Community Regarding the Status of SADC Standby Force and its Components Deployed within the Region for Purposes of Training, Peace Support Operation, Exercises and Humanitarian Assistance.
(xxvi). Summit approved the development of a new Protocol on Employment and Labour, and to this effect, approved the withdrawal of the existing Protocol on Employment and Labour.
(xxvii). Summit expressed solidarity with the Government and People of Mauritius for the environmental disaster in its waters caused by a grounded ship and called upon SADC Member States, and the International Community to support Mauritius in containing the disaster.
(xxviii). Summit extended its appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Mozambique for using innovative ways to convene the 40th Ordinary Summit in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chairperson of SADC, H.E. Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique expressed gratitude to all the Heads of State and Government for attending the 40th Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government that was held virtually for the first time in the history of SADC.
Summit noted that a face-to-face Summit will take place in Maputo, Republic of Mozambique in March 2021, if the COVID-19 pandemic situation is contained.
VI. SOME FOLLOW UP ISSUES
In executing the mandate of the Chair of our Group, we were able to forge some working relationship with a number of partners from Indian Industry. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Federation of Indian Export Organization (FIEO) and Indo African Chamber of Commerce (IACC) are among the few partners we have been working with closely.
As a result of this collaboration, some investment promotional events were being contemplated for this year. For instance, FIEO was organizing SADC-India Trade and Investment Promotion Seminar in April 2020 which was postponed because of COVID-19. Similar events were to be organized by CII and IACC during the year. So, you may therefore wish to pursue them once the pandemic is over.
Another follow up activity will be the SADC Day function which we usually conduct each year. We had agreed during our post-mortem meeting of the 2019 SADC Day that this function should be conducted in September or early October. You may therefore wish to pursue this if the environment so permits.
Furthermore, following the SADC Summit decision in 2019 concerning the illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe, the date 25th October has been saved as the day to raise the voice against these illegal sanctions. You may therefore wish to organize an event to implement this decision.
In closing, as outgoing Chairperson of our Group, I wish to congratulate the Republic of Mozambique as Chairperson of SADC, Republic of Malawi as In-coming Chairperson of SADC, the Republic of Botswana as Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and Republic of South Africa as Incoming Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.
I wish to extend our sincere appreciations and thanks for the support extended to our chairmanship at Summit, Council of the Ministers, at Senior Officials level and, especially, to this particular forum of SADC HoMs here in New Delhi for collectively addressing SADC development and integration agenda in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
I also wish to thank the “Friends of the Chair’ who supported me throughout my mandate. Their counsel and encouragement helped me deliver the service expected of the Chair. I thank the Secretariat; without whom I would not manage to steer the work of the Group. And finally, I thank “those behind the scene” for the excellent arrangements during our meetings. It remains for me to pledge my full support to our Chairperson, my Brother and Comrade Ferreira.