Malawi News Agency (Lilongwe)

16 August 2014

Malawi: President Mutharika in Zimbabwe Ahead of SADC Summit

Victoria Falls — Malawi's President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika Saturday arrived in Zimbabwe to attend the 34th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) slated from 17 to 18 August, 2014 at Elephant Hills Hotel in Victoria Falls.

President Mutharika accompanied by the First Lady, Madame Gertrude Hendrina Mutharika, arrived at 12 noon through Victoria Falls International Airport where he was welcomed by Zimbabwe's Minister of Justice, Emmerson Mngagwa, Malawi's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. George Chaponda, Malawi High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, Jane Kambalame, and other senior government officials from Zimbabwe and Malawi.

At Victoria Falls Airport, the Malawi leader was briefly entertained to traditional dances by Simunye Arts Ensemble based in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

Among other functions to be performed, President Mutharika would present a report as outgoing SADC Chairperson on the activities undertaken during Malawi's tenure of office.

He would also relinquish his SADC Chairmanship to his Zimbabwean counterpart, President Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

Malawi was elected the SADC Chairperson on 17 August, 2013 during the 33rd SADC Summit held in Lilongwe under the theme: "Agriculture Development and Agri-Industries: Key for Economic Growth and Poverty Eradication in the SADC Region".

On departure from Lilongwe, the Malawi leader told journalists that Malawi's tenure as Chairperson has seen the country benefiting a lot from regional trade with SADC member states, saying this has had a positive impact on the country's economy.

"Since Malawi took over the SADC Chairmanship last year, the country has benefited a lot from the regional trade with member states. This has had a positive impact on our economy in terms of generating forex," President Mutharika said.

Recently, Malawi was hailed for being among the five SADC countries that have surplus food and ready to support other countries in the region.

The 34th SADC Summit is being held under a theme "SADC strategy for economic transformation: leveraging the region's diverse resources for sustainable economic and social development through beneficiation and value addition".

According to media reports in Zimbabwe, 700 delegates are expected to grace the opening and closing sessions of the Summit.

SADC, established in 1992, is a Regional Economic Community comprising 15 Member States; Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Main objectives of the grouping are to achieve development, peace and security, and economic growth, to alleviate poverty, enhance the standard and quality of life of the peoples of Southern Africa, and support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration, built on democratic principles and equitable and sustainable development.

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