SADC Day Message by H.H. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli, President of the United Republic of Tanzania and SADC Chairperson
Fellow SADC Citizens
It has been 40 years since our Organization was established in Lusaka, Zambia, in 1980; and exactly 28 years since the transformation of the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) into the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Windhoek, Namibia, in 1992. I, therefore, would like, as Chair of SADC, to extend warm greetings and congratulations to all SADC citizens on this Special Day for our Community. In the same vein, I take the opportunity to pay a well-deserved tribute to our Founding Fathers, who took the historic stride to form this noble Organization in order to serve as the vanguard of our aspirations for freedom, unity and solidarity. Indeed, without their vision and solidarity this day would have not been possible.
It is unfortunate that, today, not many of our Founding Fathers are still alive. In September last year, we lost one of our few remaining Founding Fathers of this Community, the Late Comrade Robert Mugabe, former President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. Once again, on behalf of the SADC, I extend my most sincere condolences to the Government and People of the Republic of Zimbabwe for this great loss. In this connection, I would like to take this opportunity to inform you that, this year, on 14th October, Tanzania will mark 21 years since the demise of yet another Founding Father of this Organization, who was also the Father of our Nation, the Late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere; and on the 13th April 2022, we will celebrate the centenary of his birth.
We, therefore, invite all Member States and all well-wishers to join us in remembering Mwalimu Nyerere and celebrating his legacy. Needless to say, the late Baba wa Taifa was a true son of Africa who left a formidable legacy not only for our region but also the continent in general.
Fellow SADC Citizens,
SADC has come a long way since its inception in 1980. In this respect, it is heartening to note that, over the past four decades, our Organization has recorded some important milestones in different areas of cooperation: from peace and security, to infrastructure development, trade and industry, agriculture and food security, health, education, gender and youth empowerment. Indeed, our region is now, more than ever, enjoying unparalleled peace and security compared to any other regions on the continent; intra-regional trade is increasing, extreme poverty is declining, income is rising and the level of our international competitiveness has been enhanced.
I, therefore, take the opportunity to commend the efforts by our Founding Fathers, as well as the hard work of successive generations of leadership of our Community for achieving these important milestones. That said, however, we should always guard against complacency since much still needs to be done in order to realise our Founding Fathers’ dream and vision.
Fellow SADC Citizens,
On the 17th August 2019, I assumed the Chairmanship of our Organization. It has been a very exciting year and yet a very difficult one. As you are all aware, over the past 8 months, the world has been facing an acute and unprecedented health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, I wish to take this opportunity to extend my deepest condolences to those who have lost loved ones; and I wish a speedy recovery to those afflicted by the disease. Similarly, I would like to pay tribute to all SADC Member States for taking appropriate measures to fight this disease.
Indeed, thanks to our combined efforts, we have been able not only to reduce the impact caused by this pandemic, but also to be able to continue implementing our regional programmes and projects, including our theme for the past one year, which was ”A Conducive Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, increased intra-regional trade, and job creation”. All Member States have continued to implement regional programmes and projects in line with the theme; and the results have been outstanding. Additionally, we have continued to implement our Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), which ends this year; 2020; and also embarked on developing the new one for the next 30 years, which was anchored on “the SADC We Want”. This has shown how committed our region is in fulfilling its integration agenda. In this regard, going forward, I call upon all SADC Member States to continue to work together not only in addressing the COVID-19 impacts but also in preparing the post-pandemic situation of our Community. This, I believe, would be a nobler way to celebrate this SADC Day.
I wish you a happy, healthy and productive SADC Day.
Long live SADC.
Long live our Unity.
Long live our Solidarity.