WINDHOEK - The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation who is also the incoming chairperson of SADC Council of Ministers, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said it is a hard reality that the region cannot industrialise unless African nations invest on infrastructure development.
In order to ensure sustainable industrialisation and development, she noted that Africans need their own homegrown knowledge.
Therefore, she said there is a need to invest on the youth through education, skills training and motivate them to be innovative and entrepreneurs.
“In creating our own pool of knowledge, we will also ensure our region‘s effective participation in the global industrial value chain. It is also important to remind ourselves that our youth represents the largest proportion of our nations. As put by His Excellency Dr Sam Nujoma, the Founding President of Namibian, ‘The youth are the strength of this nation. They are our future leaders. They bring unique perspectives that we need to consider when we plan our future destiny’,” she stated.
She said these words are in line with the SADC Declaration on Youth Development and Empowerment signed in 2014.
The Deputy PM revealed although the declaration commits member states to economically empower the youth, there are no clearly defined action plans that accompanies it.
Nandi-Ndaitwah noted that the Commonwealth 2016 Global Youth Development Index ranked SADC member states as very low.
“Such an outcome underscores the need for an Action Plan to accompany the 2014 Declaration that could implement and rollout activities aimed at mainstreaming youth empowerment to speed up our industrialisation process,” she stated.
The chosen Theme for the SADC 38th Summit “Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development” is talking to the SADC’s main focus, namely, industrialisation of the region as articulated in the SADC Regional Integrated Strategic Development Plan (RISDP).
In the era of the third industrial development, she said there is need to strengthen South-South cooperation and to work with those in the Diaspora including the people of the Caribbean and Pacific.
The Council of Ministers consists of designated ministers, mostly those responsible for foreign and external affairs.
The council oversees the functioning and development of SADC and implementation of policies and programmes, and advises the Summit on matters of overall policy, including the efficient and harmonious functioning of the institution.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said it is therefore, imperative that the Council has to make deep and through analyses on the operations of the organisation in the implementation of the previous Summit decisions.
“We also have to unpack the theme of the 38th SADC Summit. At this point, let me thank our senior officials under the leadership of Ambassador Selma Ashipala-Musavyi Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, Namibia, for the efficient manner in which they have prepared our meeting.”
She said since the decisions by Heads of State and Government in 2015, held in Victoria Falls, the SADC Region has been seized with the regional industrialisation and integration, which demands the operationalisation of the implementation of SADC Industrialisation.
In carrying out regional developmental agenda, the Deputy PM stated SADC is also informed by continental and global agendas.
She referred to the AU Agenda 2063 with particular reference to aspiration 6, which clearly states that we want: “An Africa, whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children”.
The new Council chairperson also called on member states to consistently reaffirm their unwavering support and solidarity with the people of Western Sahara and Palestine and, call for the full implementation of all relevant UN Resolutions relative to the Settlement Plan for Western Sahara and Palestine.