On the occasion of the 38TH SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government
Your Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa
and Chairperson of SADC;
Your Excellency João Lourenço, President of the Republic of Angola and
Chairperson of the Organ;
Your Excellency Paul Kagame, Chairperson of the African Union;
Your Excellency Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union
Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government;
Comrade Nangolo Mbumba, Vice President of the Republic of Namibia;
Esteemed First Spouses;
Your Excellencies Former Heads of State and Government;
Right Honourable Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Prime Minister of the
Republic of Namibia;
Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, Executive Secretary of SADC;
Honourable Speakers of the Parliaments of Angola and South Africa;
Honourable Members of Parliament;
Esteemed Invited Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Namibia, it is my
pleasure to welcome Your Excellencies, First Spouses and your distinguished
delegations, to the 38th Ordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and
Government, being held here in our capital city, Windhoek.
It is a moment of great pride, as a country, to host the 38th SADC Summit in
the very same hall which hosted the signing of the Windhoek Declaration and
the Treaty 26 years ago, marking the transformation of our organisation
from a Coordinating Conference into a Development Community (SADC).
That historic occasion gave our organization a legal character and set forth a
vision and foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community.
It is exactly this vision and foundation that commits us today and in future to
work towards achieving economic growth, as well as promoting employment
and enhancing the standard and quality of life of our people, through
industrialization. It is this vision and foundation that commits us to work
tirelessly in order to ensure freedom, social justice, inclusivity, peace and
stability in our region.
Namibia is a Child of Pan – African Solidarity, owing its freedom to the
critical role played, by our fellow African brothers and sisters towards the
liberation of our country, starting with the Frontline States, which offered a
reliable rear base to our people, as they prepared to fight against the
brutality of the Apartheid system. We therefore welcome you to your second
home, the home that you helped liberate.
As Namibia assumes the Chairmanship of SADC, be rest assured that we have
been working closely with South Africa to ensure a smooth and efficient
transition. I wish to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to His
Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa and
Chair of SADC, for his exemplary and sterling leadership, in directing our
organisation towards regional integration.
Equally, we acknowledge the role played by the former President of South
Africa, Comrade Jacob Zuma, for his achievements in advancing the SADC
agenda and his impeccable work as Chairperson of our organization.
Your Excellencies, Namibia will continue in earnest to promote the SADC
Agenda of Industrialisation and Regional Integration, which is paramount to
sustainable development and poverty eradication. We shall endeavor to
create a conducive environment for economic development and prosperity in
We are convening this Summit under the theme “Promoting Infrastructure
Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development.”
The SADC Region needs requisite infrastructures in all sectors in order to
enhance economic growth and regional integration. The youth constitute a
significant percentage of the population in our countries. It therefore within
our interest to ensure that our youth, who will be the leaders of the
industrialized SADC we envisage, are equipped with the necessary tools
required to govern industrialized nations. In this regard, the theme speaks to
our aspirations of infrastructure development and youth empowerment.
We recognize that infrastructure includes regional transport and
communications systems, which are fundamental to development in the
Energy, water and sanitation, and meteorology are also critical components
of regional infrastructure. To fast-track infrastructure development, we
should also consider dovetailing our regional programmes and plans with
continental ones, in particular the AU Action Plan for Accelerated Industrial
Development of Africa and Agenda 2063.
In terms of youth empowerment, it is imperative that we achieve sustained
economic growth in the region in order to create sufficient employment
opportunities for our young populations. We all have to be cognizant of the
fact that to unleash the enormous potential of our youth and harness the
demographic dividend, we must create, within our economies, the necessary
opportunities for social and economic transformation.
I believe that SADC’s renewed focus on industrialisation, especially through
beneficiation and value addition, will enhance the region’s competitiveness,
create opportunities for young men and women to participate fully in the
exploitation of the region’s abundant natural resources, as well as enabling
young people to be architects of their own socio-economic development.
We expect our youth to make valuable contributions to our development
agendas as political and social actors, scientists, innovators, entrepreneurs
and academics, to mention but a few.
Our vision, as SADC Member States is of, “a Common Future, a future within
a regional community that will ensure economic well-being, improvement of
the standards of living and quality of life, freedom and social justice and
peace and security for the people of Southern Africa”.
Namibia believes in this vision. Ours is a nation rooted in Democracy, Unity,
Peace, Stability and the Rule of Law. Not only are these principles necessary
for social cohesion and nation building, but they are also prerequisites for
industrialization and economic growth. We have put in place a robust
governance architecture characterized by effective processes, systems and
institutions. We hold regular free and fair elections of which the outcomes
are rarely contested due to those processes and systems we have in place.
However, on those rare occasions when election results are challenged, we
resort to our institutions, the courts, to resolve these disputes.
All these things are done, not to win approval from others, but with a clear
belief that it is only through adherence to strong governance principles, that
we will be able to improve the standards of living and quality of life of the
people of Southern Africa.
As we prepare to meet, let us evoke the Pan-African spirit which helped us
overcome the tyranny, racism and brutality of colonialism. Let us evoke the
spirit of unity in purpose, which helped guide our founding fathers on the
path towards liberation.
Let us evoke the spirit which lead to the establishment of our organization, in
1992, to serve as a vehicle for the development and integration of our region.
Once again, Your Excellencies, First Spouses and distinguished guests, the
people of Namibia warmly welcome you and wish you all a very productive
I thank you.