Cletus Mushanawani Mutare Bureau—
PRESIDENT Mugabe is in South Africa for the 37th Sadc Heads of State and Government Summit. He flew to Pretoria yesterday evening. The President was seen off at Harare International Airport by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Chris Mushohwe, Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Joram Gumbo, State Security Minister Kembo Mohadi and service chiefs.
VP Mphoko is the Acting President.
The summit runs from August 19 to 20.
It will be preceded by a Double Troika meeting tomorrow (Friday).
Meetings of senior officials and Council of Ministers were also held as a build-up to the main summit.
The summit is running under the theme: “Partnering with the private sector in developing industry and regional value-chains”.
South African President Jacob Zuma will assume the Sadc chair.
He takes over from King Mswati III of Swaziland.
The 37th Sadc Summit will focus on how Public-Private Partnerships can be harnessed to drive forward the industrialisation agenda of southern Africa.
It is also expected to consider a report by the Secretariat on the development of an implementation plan and roadmap on the conclusions of the Strategic Ministerial Retreat on the “Sadc We Want” that was held in Swaziland in March.
Among other things, the retreat directed the Secretariat to develop an effective mechanism for tracking progress in the implementation of regional programmes as well as compliance to protocols and legal instruments.
The summit is also expected to consider progress on the development of the Sadc Resource Mobilisation Framework.
The framework is expected to explore alternative sources of funding to determine how fiscal space could be created to enable Sadc member States to finance regional programmes, projects and activities.
President Mugabe is on record urging Africa to fund its programmes.
Donor funding comes with strings attached.
In July, President Mugabe donated US$1 million to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Speaking at the handover of the cheque, President Mugabe said: “To develop and realise the vision set out in agenda 2063, Africa needs to finance its own programmes. Institutions like the AU cannot rely on donor funding as the model is not sustainable.
“This humble gesture on Zimbabwe’s part has no universal application but it demonstrates what is possible when people apply their minds to tasks before them.”
The Sadc summit is also expected to focus on measures to improve food security in the region, in particular how to strengthen implementation of the Regional Agricultural Policy that aims to improve production, productivity, competitiveness and trade in the agricultural sector, natural resources and environment.
Another topical issue expected to be discussed by summit would be the proposed new structure of the Sadc Secretariat.
President Mugabe was welcomed at the Waterkloof Airport by South African ICT Minister Siyabonga Cwele, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, who was already here, and Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa Isiaah Moyo