UNDER the chairpersonship of Tanzania, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has mitigated socio-economic hardships to its citizens that could have been triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, the secretariat of the regional body says.
The secretariat yesterday highlighted achievements attained during the past one year when Tanzania chaired the regional body at a virtual meeting when Prof Palamagamba Kabudi, Tanzania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, handed over the chairpersonship of the council of ministers to his Mozambican counterpart, Verónica Nataniel Macamo.
According to the SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Tax, during the past year, the region not only contained the spread of Covid-19, but also enabled the mitigation of socioeconomic hardships to SADC citizens, while minimising disruptions to economic activities.
The success was the result of, among other measures, development of SADC Guidelines on Movement of Goods and Services across the region during Covid-19, and Standard Operating Procedures.
The guidelines and the Standard Operating Procedures greatly facilitated movement of essential goods, and gradually movement of all goods and services.
“The secretariat has done an assessment on the socioeconomic impact of corona virus...We have been affected achievements,” Dr Tax stated. She said transportation of goods and services within the region had generally been well. “We really moved collectively. The region managed to push forward in development and moved its agenda,” she said.
She said the secretariat continued to lay emphasis on the SADC Vision 2050 and the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (2020-2030) taking into account the importance of regional integration.
She noted that the Secretariat carried out an in-depth analysis on the socio-economic impacts of Covid-19 on SADC economies.
The assessment indicates that in 2019/20, the economic performance of the region slowed down with real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth averaging 2.0 per cent, while annual inflation increased to an average of 12.1 per cent in 2019 from an average of 8.2 per cent in 2018.
Speaking shortly before handing over the chairpersonship, Prof Kabudi also said Tanzania held the chair during the difficult time of covid-19 but managed to make the regional unity and vision remain intact.
He said such success would be impossible without concerted efforts by all member states.
He also mentioned some notable achievements, including continued trade within the region upon continued transportation of goods and services.
“As we hand over the chairpersonship, we are certain that we are going to continue fighting poverty and other challenges brought about by environmental factors or climate change,” he stated, adding: “As I hand over the chair to Mozambican Foreign Affairs Minister, I believe that the SADC agenda on industrialisation will remain the key area,” he stressed.
Prof Kabudi further challenged the member states to consider incorporating Kiswahili language in their school curricular as well as higher learning studies.
Commenting, Ms Macamo spoke about the importance of cooperation among the member states against cross-border terrorism in order to maintain peace and security in the region.
She assured member states of the commitment of her country towards serving the regional bloc.