Mutharika commits support to SADC
From Cecilia Banda in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls, August 17, 2014, ZANIS—The newly elected President of Malawi Peter Mutharika has committed his country’s support to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) ideals and principles for the benefit of its people.
Professor Mutharika was elected as President of Malawi last May in elections which he described as an extremely difficult political situation.
In his speech as the out-going chairman of the 15 member regional grouping during the official opening of the 34thHeads of State and Government Summit here today, Prof Mutharika however said that Malawi was deeply humbled to know that it could count on SADC for support in trying times.
Prof Mutharika is the younger brother to the late Malawian President Mbingu Wa Mutharika but contested the last presidential elections standing against then President Joyce Banda whom he defeated but he was only swore-in after political wrangles erupted challenging the out-come of the polls.
And Prof Mutharika told the Heads of States and Government Summit held at Elephants Hills Resort in Victoria Falls today that during its one-year tenure as chairperson of SADC, Malawi made immense strides in consolidating the various strategies aimed at enhancing regional integration and cooperation among the member states.
Prof Mutharika noted that the process to realize the tripartite free trade area between SADC, COMESA and the East African Community was still on going and that it was the envisaged hope of his government that the regional grouping will not relent in ensuring the treaty succeeds, as it was an important vehicle to eliminate trade barriers.
The Malawian Leader also urged SADC member states to double efforts to implement the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) an infrastructure development blue-print for SADC launched in 2012 if the grouping were to realize sustainable development that would translate in beneficiation of its people and value addition of resources as premised in the summit theme.
“ We need to address SADC power shortfalls, border frustrations and eliminate non-tariff barriers if we are to achieve the set goals to benefit our people”, said President Mutharika.
Earlier, President Mutharika gave his maiden speech as new Head of State of Malawi in which he said that his country attached great importance to the ideals and principles of SADC as articulated by its founding fathers adding that Malawi will contribute to make it a reality under his leadership.
And the chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said her organization will continue to work with SADC in efforts aimed at realizing regional integration and cooperation under the continental bodies Vision 2063 Agenda.
Dr Zuma stressed that the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) that SADC was reviewing during the 34th Summit was a key driver to ensuring that the region benefits from its vast natural resources including abundant minerals and water bodies while endeavouring to add value to the products thereby creating jobs for the millions of youths who remain unemployed.
Meanwhile, Vice President Guy Scott is among SADC Heads of State and Government attending the two-day Summit at Elephant Hills Resort in Victoria Falls town.
Dr Scott, who is representing President Michael Sata at the Summit arrived here yesterday and will later in the evening attend a State Banquet hosted by President Mugabe for the visiting SADC Leaders which will be held at the Elephants Hills Resort.
The Summit is expected to close tomorrow afternoon.