SADC Summit: Here’s what to expect in the DRC

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Lazarus Chakwera will hand over to Congolese Félix Tshisekedi.

  • President Cyril Ramaphosa will participate in the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community.
  • Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera is expected to hand over SADC chairmanship to Felix of the DRC Tshisekedi.
  • SADC leaders will discuss the region’s disaster preparedness and climate change.

The two-day 42nd Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) opens in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Wednesday.

Here’s what to expect:

Malawi’s Chakwera relinquishes presidency

The direction of the regional bloc is rotating. As such, the Malawian Lazarus Chakwera will hand over the reins to his host, the RDC Felix Tshisekedi.

Chakwera told Malawian media that he was leaving the leadership role a happy man.

He succeeded Mozambican Filipe Nyusi, whose troubles with insurgencies in the oil and gas-rich province of Cabo Delgado at home was a major task on Chakwera’s to-do list.

Under Chakwera, SADC agreed to send its standby force to Mozambique to fight the insurgents.

READ | Suffer the children: Ethiopia and Mozambique named in UN report on children in hostile areas

Tshisekedi takes over the leadership of SADC a few months after joining the East African Community, another regional bloc.

Back home, he is confronted with terrorist acts in the eastern part of the DRC bordering Rwanda.

His government has been widely blamed for failing to contain the rebels as he accuses Rwanda of working with them.

His tenure as SADC President coincides with his defense of his presidency in next year’s general election.

Politics and defense

President Cyril Ramaphosa, outgoing chairman of the SADC organ for politics, defense and security co-operation, is expected to brief heads of state and hold a plenary session on the Lesotho peace process .

Hotbed of political upheaval in the region, Lesotho is due to hold elections on October 7.

Ringisai Chikohomero, a research consultant at the Pretoria Institute for Security Studies, hopes Eswatini will be discussed at the summit.

“The regional body needs a bold and clear position on next steps, such as posting a high-level envoy to the kingdom.

“For the pro-democracy movement, there is a feeling that the king is being manipulated with gloves as Eswatini descends into turmoil,” he said.

Covid-19

Since the process of rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine, South Africa and Botswana have emerged as leaders in vaccine manufacturing programs.

Ramaphosa is one of three signatories to a letter published in international media that says: “It is difficult to build a vaccine production unit, but it is even more difficult to ensure its sustainability.

Ramaphosa, Senegalese Macky Sall and Frenchman Emmanuel Macron have called for investing in pandemic preparedness.

With this in mind, SADC leaders gathered at the summit are expected to discuss the region’s Covid-19 strategy.

Malawi’s Minister of Health, Nancy Tembo, the outgoing chairperson of the council of ministers, said on Monday that SADC should work to “build productive capacities in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic for sustainable and inclusive economic and industrial transformation”. .

Climate change

In a statement, the South African presidency said part of the summit would focus on climate change issues such as the establishment of a regional response centre.

The Presidency said:

Given the frequency of natural disasters in the region, the summit is expected to adopt a memorandum of understanding on the establishment and operationalization of the SADC Humanitarian and Emergency Operations Center to be hosted in Mozambique.

SADC leaders are meeting after devastating Cyclone Gombe and Tropical Storm Batsirai, which affected parts of Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, displacing hundreds of thousands of people.

South Africa has also experienced disaster related to climate change, in the form of floods and landslides in KwaZulu-Natal.

Ratification of agreements and protocols.

Member countries will consider a proposed SADC mechanism for engagement with non-state actors, particularly in relation to climate change and humanitarian assistance.

The summit will also deliberate on a proposed amendment to a protocol on the development of tourism in the region, as well as an amendment to the Southern African Development Community Treaty which involves the recognition of the SADC parliament as as a SADC institution.


The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced by the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained therein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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