President in DRC for Sadc Summit President Mnangagwa is welcomed by Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Prime Minister Jean Sama Lukonde (right), at Kinshasa International Airport, yesterday. The President is in DRC for the 42nd Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government. — Picture: Tawanda Mudimu

Fungi Kwaramba in KINSHASA, DRC

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa arrived here yesterday for the 42nd Sadc summit that is expected to push for beneficiation of the region’s vast resources and promotion of economic development, among other issues. 

The President arrived in Kinshasa late afternoon and was received by senior DRC government officials and Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to the country, Mr Johannes Tomana. 

Running under the theme “Promoting industrialisation through, agro-processing, mineral beneficiation, and regional value chains for inclusive and resilient economic growth”, the summit is also expected to deal with cases of conflict in countries like DRC and Mozambique as well as map a way forward post the Covid-19 pandemic regional developmental programmes.

Sadc leaders are also expected to be prepared to respond to shifting geopolitics. 

The theme, that also resonates with Zimbabwe’s National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) continues with the industrialisation trajectory, as SADC has since 2014 held its summits under the theme. 

The region is endowed with vast natural resources that include fertile soils, forests, wildlife and minerals such as gold, diamonds and coal. 

However, very few Sadc countries process their own raw material, with the bulk of the value addition taking place elsewhere and benefiting others.

And one of the key issues for discussion at the summit is how the region can develop viable strategies that ensure the region fully benefits from its vast natural resources.

Apart from that, the summit is also expected to assess the implementation of various projects, programmes and activities on industrialisation, as contained in the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063, as well as the Protocol on                                                              Industry.   

Further, the summit will also focus on how member states can take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFCA), which experts say has the capacity to change the global economic landscape and boost intra-regional trade. 

In line with the theme of the 42nd Sadc Summit, the meeting will discuss ways to develop a vibrant agro-processing system.

The increase in food security and nutritional value is important, particularly when some parts of the region are experiencing food insecurity due to poor harvests and low rainfall — with the impact further exacerbated by Covid-19

At the summit, DRC President Felix Tshisekedi will become the Sadc chair, taking over from his Malawian President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera for a period of one year. 

The Sadc Summit is responsible for the overall policy direction and control of functions of the community, ultimately making it the supreme policy-making institution of the region. 

The summit is made up of all Heads of State or Government of Sadc member states and is managed on a troika system that comprises the current SADC summit chairperson, the incoming chairperson (the deputy at the time), and the immediate past chairperson.

For the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa will hand over the chair to the Namibian President Hage Geingob. 

The SADC Organ on Politics Defence and Security Cooperation is also managed on a troika basis and is responsible for promoting peace and security in the SADC region. 

The SADC Summit Troika and the Organ Troika are separate bodies, and the chairperson of the organ does not simultaneously hold the chair of Summit, but both positions rotate on an annual basis.

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