The 38th Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) was held at Safari Court Conference Centre, in Windhoek, Namibia, on 17th and 18th August 2018.
The election of Hage G. Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia as Chairperson of SADC and Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of Zambia as Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation formed some of the key moments at the conference.
The SADC leaders who included Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi and ten other Heads of State, endorsed the 38th SADC Summit theme of “Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development, as the 2018/19 Theme, which takes forward the SADC industrialization agenda, while focusing on infrastructure development, youth empowerment and sustainable development.
Another approval from the Summit was the operationalisation of the SADC University of Transformation, in the form of a virtual university to focus on entrepreneurship, innovation, commercialization, technology transfer, enterprise development, and a knowledge economy to further support SADC’s industrialization agenda.
SADC leaders noted the progress in the implementation of the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2015-2020, and urged Member States to focus on implementing priority activities within the approved frameworks of the Revised RISDP as well as their policy documents including the Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap, Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan, the Regional Agricultural Investment Plan, and the Strategic Indicative Plan of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Cooperation.
The Summit reviewed the SADC regional economic performance and urged Member States to scale up efforts aimed at diversifying their economies, improve domestic revenue collection mechanisms, and managing public expenditure.
Most importantly, the Summit raised the alarm on the overall decline in food production in the Region, for the 2017/18 crop season, and urged Member States to put in place measures to tackle food insecurity in the Region while developing contingency plans to enhance drought preparedness in view of the likelihood of adverse El Nino induced conditions during the 2018/19 cropping season. Member States that have not yet signed and/or ratified the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) Agreement were urged to do so, and to expeditiously finalise the exchange of tariff offers, and pave the way for the implementation of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA).
SADC leaders noted with concern that, despite a number of SADC initiatives in the Kingdom of Lesotho, progress on the implementation of the reforms roadmap, and national dialogue was very slow. They urged the Kingdom of Lesotho and all stakeholders to ensure that the National Leaders Forum, scheduled for 23-24 August 2018 takes place as planned.
SADC leaders congratulated Member States that held elections since the last summit in August 2017, namely the Republic of Angola and the Republic of Zimbabwe, and congratulated His Excellency President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço and the Movement for the Popular Liberation of Angola (MPLA) party for winning the elections, and called upon all stakeholders in Zimbabwe to remain calm while the legal processes regarding the outcome of the elections are being considered before the courts, and to respect the will of people of Zimbabwe.