HARARE, july 17– The 34th summit of Heads of State and Government of the Southern African development Community (SADC) to be held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, next month will receive a report on progress in formulating a new protocol on the SADC tribunal, says Zimbabwean Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi.
Briefing the media here Wednesday on preparations made so far to host the summit, he said: “The previous SADC tribunal got into difficulties around the manner in which it had been brought into force and now we are coming up with a (proposal for a) new protocol which will be considered at the summit.”
Mumbengegwi said preparations to host the summit were on course and were being done in consultation with the SADC Secretariat. At least 450 delegates are expected to attend the summit which begins on Aug 8 with preparatory meetings of officials before the Council of Ministers meets on Aug 14 and 15.
The Heads of State and Government will then meet on Aug 17 and 18, said Mumbengegwi, who added that although the summit agenda was yet to be finalized, some of the issues to be tabled included reports on the state of the region politically and economically.
“The agenda is not yet finalized, but we will be getting a number of reports especially the report on the review of the regional indicative strategic development plan of the SADC,” he said.
Zimbabwe would use the to summit advocate and devise strategies for increased value addition and beneficiation of minerals for the betterment of the country and the regional economy.
Zimbabwe, the current deputy chair of the 15-member grouping, will assume chairmanship of the SADC when the Heads of State and Government meet at Victoria Falls.
The summit will be held under the theme: “SADC Strategy for Economic Transformation: Leveraging the Region’s Diverse Resources for Sustainable Economic and Social Development through Beneficiation and
Zimbabwe wanted to be at the forefront of advocating for increased value addition because the country believed strongly in the importance of beneficiating and adding value to natural resources, the foreign minister said.
“I think you have all heard how President Robert Mugabe has never stopped talking about this issue, why should we always export our natural resources in the raw form? So the question of value addition is
critical not only to Zimbabwe but the whole of SADC,” he said.
“The SADC region is endowed with resources the same as Africa, very rich in resources but the paradox is that with such an abundance of natural resources we are poor, why are we poor? It is because we do not
get the full benefit of our natural resources.
“This is the thrust that we would want to champion, not only during President Mugabe’s chairmanship of SADC, but to be able to come up with strategies and programs of action which can continue even after President Mugabe has left the chairmanship of the organization because this is a critical area not only for SADC but for the whole African continent and other developing countries.”
SOURCE: NEW ZIANA