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SADC chairman President Mugabe, arrived here yesterday for a tour of the regional body’s headquarters, the first such visit since he assumed office last August.

The President was met at Seretse Khama International Airport by Botswana Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Pelonomi Venson Moitoi, Sadc Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs Secretary Ambassador Joey Bimha and other senior Government officials from both countries.

President Mugabe was also welcomed at his hotel by scores of Zimbabweans youths based here who broke into song and dance praising him as an able leader who made Zimbabwe and the rest of the continent proud.

The Sadc chair, who is expected to attend a luncheon hosted for him by Botswana President Seretse Khama Ian Khama today, is accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and other Government officials.

Last night he held a closed door meeting with the Sadc executive and will today tour the offices to meet with the rest of the staff. President Mugabe is also the chairman of the African Union.

Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba said it was mandatory that the Sadc chairperson visits the headquarters for familiarization during his reign.

“It is a requirement that the chairperson of Sadc must visit the headquarters during the course of his tenure so he is fulfilling that,” he said.

The visit comes hard on the heels of an Extraordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government held in Harare last month. The meeting, attended by 10 heads of State and Government and other high ranking representatives, approved the Sadc Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap while reaffirming the importance of industrial development in poverty alleviation and the region’s economic emancipation, among its resolutions.

Sadc’s overall objective is to achieve regional integration and poverty alleviation.

When he assumed office, President Mugabe assured the regional grouping that Zimbabwe would contribute significantly towards ensuring the region focused on interventions that had the greatest impact on the well being of Sadc citizens.

The need for the region 0to beneficiate its natural resources to ensure economic and social development was of utmost importance, he said.

Sadc headquarters were inaugurated in 2010 by Heads of State and Government during a Summit held here.

The Sadc Secretariat is the principal executive institution responsible for strategic planning, facilitation, coordination and management of the regional grouping’s programmes.

Some of its key priorities areas are grouped as trade, industry, finance and investment infrastructure and services food, agriculture and natural resources and social and human development.

These cut across issues of gender and development, science and technology, information and communications technologies and environment and sustainable development.

Preparations are already underway for the Tripartite meeting scheduled Egypt next month to harmonise Sadc, the Common Market for East and Southern Africa and the East African Community.

Source : The Herald