SADC deliberations in DRC to wrap up later today

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Kinshasa - The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Summit will wrap up proceedings later today with a new chairperson at the helm.

South African President Jacob Zuma will hand over the chairmanship to President of the Democratic Republic of Congo Joseph Kabila.

It is the first time the war-torn vast central African country is hosting a SADC summit since joining the organization in September 1997 and by giving it the chairmanship, the region will be giving Kinshasa a role to play as an economic engine in central and southern Africa.

Zuma on Monday said that Kabila was also determined to host the SADC Summit, despite enormous challenges facing the country, related to reconciliation and reconstruction.

In his address to the Heads of State on Monday, Zuma acknowledged the progress the regional body made under South Africa's chairmanship, but called on his counterparts to make a concerted effort to win the battle against poverty and underdevelopment that continue to face the continent.

"We, the present membership of sixteen States, need to draw from the bravery of our forebears and with the same commitment of unity. We must prioritise stability, democracy and socio-economic development."

President Zuma said the Heads of State must ensure that the economic crisis does not result in the further marginalisation of Africa and accentuate the potential for political and social instability in the region.

"Working together we must ensure that this crisis does not undo the great strides made in the region such as the deepening of democracy, the improvement of trade, economic and investment incentives and the enhancement of the lives of SADC citizens.