Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Republic of Namibia President Hifikepunye Pohamba Elected Chair of SADC

Pohamba takes over

By Southern Times Writer

WINDHOEK - Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba will be wearing a new hat in the next 12 months - that of Chairperson of the 15-member Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

He took over from Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila Kabange at the organisation's 30th summit in the Namibian capital, Windhoek, yesterday.

Accepting 'with humility' the 'honour' of leading the bloc, President Pohamba said the chairmanship of SADC presents enormous challenges as well as opportunities for guiding the implementation of the SADC common agenda and the priorities outlined in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) of the group.

He said it was pleasing that steady progress had been made in the region since the organisation's transformation on August 17 1992, especially with regard to regional socio economic integration as well as in peace and security.

'During my tenure I will work to further strengthen co-operation among member states with the objective of increasing our capacity to confront and solve the common challenges we face.

'I am confident that the decisions we shall take at our summit will no doubt help to reinvigorate and revitalise our co-operation, and that our deliberations over the next two days will give renewed impetus to the advancement of deeper regional economic integration as well as the consolidation of peace and security,' he said.

President Pohamba lauded the progress the inclusive Zimbabwe had made since February last year and also praised South African President Jacob Zuma for his mediation role in Zimbabwe.

He also commended SADC mediator former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano for his ongoing efforts to find lasting solution to the Madagascar crisis and the Christian Council of Lesotho the Mediator, and the Facilitation Team, for the continued mediation effort to find a lasting solution to the post-electoral dispute in Lesotho.

Said Pohamba: 'The achievements already recorded, particularly in the consolidation of peace and democracy within SADC, are generally commendable.

'As a region, we should constantly work towards the protection and consolidation of our democratic institutions.'

The Namibian leader said he was happy that the amendments to the Protocol on Politics Defence and Security Co-operation on the formation of the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC) had been finalised and was awaiting signature.

He said while SADC had made significant progress in maintaining peace and security, the region still lagged behind other regional Economic Communities in the free movement of people and goods.

'Despite this state of affairs, however, SADC has taken important initiatives to facilitate the free movement of gods and services, including harmonisation of customs procedures and instruments, adopting a single administrative document for streamlining customs declarations in SADC, reaching an agreement on common tariffs and co-ordinating trade liberalisation through the SADC, CMESA and East African Community Tripartite Task Force.'

During his tenure, he would endeavour to accelerate joint programmes for development to enhance co-operation and co-ordination in industrial competition and consumer protection policies.

No comments: