17 August 2018

Zimbabwe: ED in Namibia for SADC Talks

Photo: New Zimbabwe
President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa (file photo).

President Mnangagwa arrived in Windoek, Namibia, yesterday for the Sadc 38th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government.

He was welcomed at the Hosea Kutako International Airport by Ministers Patrick Chinamasa (Finance), Sibusiso Moyo (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) and Mike Bimha (Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development), who were already here for preparatory meetings for the Sadc summit.

On leaving Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa was seen off at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport by Vice Presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi, as well as Cabinet ministers Perrance Shiri and Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri.

VP Chiwenga is Acting President.

The two-day SADC Summit is running under the theme "Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development".

Zimbabwe is not on the summit agenda, with the region, in fact, congratulating the nation for holding peaceful, fair and credible polls on July 30, according to Minister Moyo.

"We took the opportunity to update Sadc of the elections which took place in Zimbabwe which were successful," he said. "Zimbabwe is not on the agenda. In fact, this has been an unprecedented kind of election which was peaceful, fair and transparent except for futuristic issues," said Minister Moyo.

Sadc has been seized with the industrialisation agenda during its past four summits.

The industrialisation discourse dates back to the Sadc summit held in Harare, Zimbabwe, in 2014 themed "Economic Transformation and Sustainable Development through Beneficiation and Value Addition".

Namibian President Hage Geingob takes over leadership of the regional bloc from South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at the summit.

Some countries in the region have initiated billion-dollar infrastructure development projects expected to spur industrialisation and economic development.

Such projects include the US$259 million Kazungula rail and road bridge whose construction involved neighbours Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Construction of the bridge is expected to boost regional integration.

A number of key infrastructural projects cutting across geographical boundaries are also underway in the Sadc region.

Zimbabwe and Botswana are in talks over construction of a railway line linking the two countries to Mozambique, a project that has been in the pipeline for a long time.

The project is before the Joint Commission.

If the project succeeds, it becomes one of the most notable infrastructure projects in the region as it will link more than two Sadc countries.

Another huge infrastructural project in the pipeline is the $4,5 billion Batoka Gorge Hydro electricity project involving Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The two countries have since agreed on principles for the project that will generate 1 600 megawatts of power and experts from both sides have been exchanging notes on the way forward.

There are several other infrastructural projects cutting across geographical boundaries underway in the Sadc region expected to boost industrialisation and economic development.

At a local level, President Mnangagwa's administration has prioritised infrastructure development as a key enabler to industrialisation and economic prosperity.

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