Geingob hands over SADC chairpersonship to Magufuli

President HageGeingob handed the Southern African Development Community (SADC) chairpersonship to Tanzania's President, John Magufuli during the official opening of the 39th Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government on Saturday here Saturday.

Geingob in his keynote address as outgoing chair highlighted speech said despite the challenges which resulted from global uncertainties of the commodity markets, trade tensions, food insecurity and natural calamities, the region recorded significant achievements towards the attainment of regional commitments.

He also highlighted the maturity of democracy in the region, has during a major election year which saw presidents of the Comoros, DRC and Madagascar attend the summit for the first time.

He also indicated that Swahili which is Tanzania's official language, would be the fourth official language for the summit, in addition to English, Portuguese and French.

The event was attended by the 16 heads of states and over 500 delegates.

Reflecting on the 38th SADC theme on Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development, Geingob said it placed emphasis on youth engagement as region boasts an active young population and thereby presenting opportunities for the fortunes of the region to be drastically transformed into greater economic growth and prosperity.

'The theme also gave impetus for the full implementation of the SADC Declaration on Youth Development and Empowerment adopted by Heads of State and Government in August 2015,' he said.

While youth actively contribute as political actors, innovators, entrepreneurs and peace builders, they continue to face disproportionate social, economic and political barriers, which prevent them from unleashing their full potential and meaningfully contributing to sustainable development, Geingob added.

He further noted that unemployment, underemployment, lack of skills and access to capital, result in youth experiencing social and political challenges such as conscription into armed rebellions and exposure to drug use and risky behaviour.

'Additionally, our youth continue to migrate within the continent as well as abroad, in search of greener pastures, making them vulnerable to exploitation, extreme abuse and mistreatment among other things,' he said.

Therefore, the full realisation of SADC's vision and mission are hinged on deliberate and coordinated efforts to accelerate social development that prioritises youth development and empowerment as well as enhancing youth participation in policy formulation and to develop programmes in areas that affect the lives of young people in the entire SADC region, the Head of State said.

Meanwhile, in his acceptance speech, Tanzanian President, John Magufuli said it is his desire to further strengthen cooperation and partnership of all SADC member states.

'We always consider SADC as part of our integral future and this is why we have continued to be an active member of SADC and effective participants in the implementation of its various relationships and programmes,' he said.

Source: Namibia Press Agency