President John Pombe Magufuli of the United Republic of Tanzania has only been in power for less than a year. However, his popularity is growing across southern Africa due to his humility and actions to work with the people.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is expected to get a detailed overview of his vision towards regional integration and development when he delivers his maiden speech at the 36 th SADC Summit set for 30-31 August in Mbabane, the Kingdom of Swaziland.
The theme for the 36 th SADC Summit is “Resource Mobilisation for Investment in Sustainable Energy Infrastructure for an Inclusive SADC Industrialisation for the Prosperity of the Region.”
According to the draft summit agenda, Dr Magufuli is the only new president to be welcomed by the 36 th SADC summit. At the last summit, a total of three presidents – Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique, Hage Geingob of Namibia and Edgar Lungu of Zambia – delivered their maiden speeches.
The three all gave a similar message, saying they are ready to continue with the work of their predecessors in “pushing forward the regional integration agenda of SADC.”
The ideals of SADC are towards a common future within a regional community that will ensure economic wellbeing, improvement of standards of living and quality of life, freedom and social justice, and peace and security for the people of southern Africa.
Dr. Magufuli was sworn in as president in November 2015 following his election victory on 25 October of the same year.
Leader of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), he is the fifth president of Tanzania and took over from President Jakaya Kikwete.
The CCM is the longest-serving political party in government in Africa, having been in power since Tanzania’s independence in 1961.
This is also the party of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere who supported the liberation of other countries in southern Africa from colonial rule, including Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
During his inauguration, President Magufuli said his main tasks include addressing corruption and accelerating socio-economic development and industrial transformation.
“ My government will put emphasis on fighting corruption, job creation and industrialisation,” he pledged, adding that he will adhere to the principles of the country, and region’s revered founding father, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.
Dr Magufuli has previously worked in various government portfolios, including as Minister of Works where he played the important role of supervising the construction of a road network in the country, which earned him high praise and made him known all over the country.
He also served as Minister of Livestock Development and Fisheries, and of Lands and Human Settlements, but his main achievements are in his passion for infrastructure development, especially the rural and feeder road networks which improved significantly during his time as minister, and the Mtwara Corridor in southern Tanzania.
At the summit, King Mswati III of Swaziland will assume the rotating SADC chair from President Seretse Khama Ian Khama of Botswana.
The theme of the summit continues the industrialization trajectory of the last two summits hosted by Zimbabwe in 2014 and Botswana in 2015, which focused on economic transformation and sustainable development through beneficiation and value addition, and on transforming natural resources and human capital to boost sustainable development respectively.
This year’s theme focuses on how the region could mobilize resources to improve energy infrastructure development.
Key issues for discussions by the leaders include how to mobilize resources to support infrastructure and industrial development in southern Africa, as well as the political situation in the region.
Regarding political matters, the leaders are expected to receive a report from President Nyusi, the outgoing chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.
The report is expected to discuss the situation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as an update on the mediation process in Lesotho.
The summit is preceded by preparatory meetings of senior officials and the Council of Ministers who prepare the agenda for the leaders. sardc.net