The 37th ordinary summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) opened at OR Tambo building in Pretoria, South Africa at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In her opening remarks at the occasion SADC executive secretary, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax said the organisation has continued to move forward the industrialisation agenda since the Victoria Falls Summit with the SADC region expected to increase intra-SADC trade.
She said the industrialisation costed action plan of SADC which was approved in March this year will increase the momentum in pursuing the SADC industrialisation agenda.
Dr Tax also revealed that the regional agricultural investment plan has been approved to increase agricultural productivity and competitiveness.
The programme will contribute to the industrialisation efforts by facilitating agro-processing projects.
Speaking at the same occasion, African Development Bank (ADB) president, Akinwumi Adesina announced the institution’s preparedness to support SADC’s aspirations for an accelerated development of Africa.
He said the total investment by the ADB in Southern Africa totaled US$10 billion by the end of 2016 and that it is ready to remove structural challenges that have continued to hamper growth in SADC and Africa and top of that list of challenges is electricity.
He said ADB will invest US$12 billion over the next 5 years in the energy sector.
SADC’s industrialisation programme is in line with Zimbabwe’s ZIM ASSET objectives to uplift the socio economic status of the people.
In attendance were heads of state and government namely President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, host President Jacob Zuma, outgoing chairman of the organisation, King Mswati the 3rd of Swaziland, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane of Lesotho, Hage Geingob of Namibia, Edgar Lungu of Zambia, President of the Seychelles Danny Faure and Ian Khama of Botswana.
Tanzania was represented by its vice president while others were represented by Ministers of Foreign Affairs and other senior government officials.