The handing over ceremony was done during the ongoing 37th ordinary SADC Heads of State summit which is taking place in Pretoria, South Africa.
King Mswati III of Swaziland has today handed over the rotation chairmanship of the Southern African Development Community to President Jacob Zuma of South Africa .
The handing over ceremony was done during the ongoing 37th ordinary SADCHeads of State summit which is taking place in Pretoria, South Africa.
Speaking during the event, the incoming chairman, said the year 2017 symbolises an important year for the Southern African Development Community as it marks the Jubilee celebration of our organisation.
As such, the time is opportune for all of us as Heads of States and Government, to take stock of the progress as well as opportunities created since SADC’s inception.
He said as a region we have a blueprint, the Revised Regional Integration Strategic Development Programme (2015-2020) to guide economic development and integration.
Commendable progress in implementation has been made with the development of the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan, the Industrialisation as well as Strategy and Roadmap.
Zuma said the meeting of Heads of State and Government is important as it gives us an opportunity to engage on the progress and challenges in terms of implementing our SADC Integration Agenda during this past year.
“We should also foster an environment for reflection on the future strategic direction of the region post-2020”, he said.
He welcomed the process initiated during Swaziland’s Chairship, which saw SADC embarking upon a project to renew its vision.
Specifically, the March 2017 SADC Ministerial Retreat held under a policy framework –SADC we want which has built on our continental Agenda 2063.
He also emphasized on collective responsibility and work in ensuring that we maintain a peaceful, stable and secure region is pertinent to attaining our objectives.
The vision of a connected and prosperous African continent in the form of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) finds expression in the work of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), where negotiations continue to aspire towards enhancing intra-regional trade and market integration.
These initiatives are geared towards creating employment, improving manufacturing, enhancing development and addressing poverty alleviation in the SADC region specifically, he said.
As the Incoming Chair of SADC, South Africa has been working closely with the Kingdom of Swaziland and the SADC Secretariat towards ensuring a smooth transition, he concluded.