WINDHOEK-- Senior officials from the 15 member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) began meeting in the Namibian capital, Windhoek, Thursday ahead the 38th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the sub-regional grouping here next week.

The meeting of the Standing Committee of Senior Officials is taking place with the Permanent Secretary in the Namibian Ministry of International Relations and Co-operation, Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, taking over as Chair f the committee from outgoing chairperson Sandile Schalk of South Africa.

The 38th SADC Ordinary Summit is taking place under the theme. "Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development" on Aug 17 and 18.

Ashipala-Musavyi said the theme illustrates that infrastructure development and youth empowerment are vital in driving SADC toward industrialisation and addresses the socio-economic realities of the continent.

"I am pleased to state that there have been notable progress in many sectors especially infrastructural connectivity, economic development and trade, as well as ensuring that peace and security prevails in the region," she said.

She added that it is crucial that the organisation implements programmes and strategies that member states have commonly adopted, for the benefit of all its people.

Schalk meanwhile said the organ has a collective responsibility to substantially improve the quality of life, opportunities and prosperity of the people of southern Africa through the realisation of sustainable economic development and regional integration.

He said by following the priorities set out in fundamentally adopted frameworks including the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan, the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap and the Strategic Indicative Plan of the Organ, it continues to advance the region.

"These strategies and frameworks are all linked to the overarching SADC objectives of regional political and security stability and economic development through increased market integration," Schalk said.