The United Republic of Tanzania is intensifying preparations for the annual regional summit where southern African countries will discuss ways of advancing integration and sustainable development.
The 39th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is scheduled for Dar es Salaam in August.
Tanzanian Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Minister, Prof. Palamagamba Kabudi said the country is ready and looks forward to host this important meeting that gives shape and focus to the regional integration agenda of southern Africa.
"Hosting the SADC Summit is a great honour to us as a nation," Prof. Kabudi said on 8 May at the commencement of preparations for the 39th SADC Summit.
The last time that Tanzania hosted a SADC Summit was in 2003, and the country is determined to once again take leadership in advancing regional integration when it assumes the chair of SADC in August.
President John Magufuli of Tanzania, who is currently the deputy chairperson of SADC, will take over the rotating leadership of the regional organization from his Namibian counterpart Hage Geingob at the Summit.
In his capacity as the SADC chairperson, President Magufuli will be tasked with promoting peace and security as well as sustainable development in the region.
Tanzania is yet to set the theme for the 2019 Summit.
However, the previous five summits have focused on the topical issue of industrialization -- marking the first time in the 39 year history of SADC that a similar theme has ran for so many years.
As part of the preparations, Tanzania will on 22-26 July convene the annual SADC Industrialisation Week.
The main objective of the industrialization week is to popularize the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap and identify industrialization projects that can be implemented jointly by the public and private sector within SADC Member States.
Adopted by the SADC Extraordinary Summit held in 2015 in Harare, Zimbabwe, the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap aims to accelerate the momentum towards strengthening the comparative and competitive advantages of economies of the region.
The strategy and roadmap is anchored on three pillars -- industrialization, competitiveness and regional integration. Strategic interventions for each of these pillars are proposed in the action plan.
These include an improved policy environment for industrial development, increased volume and efficiency of public and private sector investments in the SADC economy, creation of regional value chains and participation in related global processes, as well as increased value addition for agricultural and non-agricultural products and services.
The theme for the 2019 SADC Industrialization Week is "Competitive Business Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development."
Prof. Kabudi has urged the private sector in Tanzania to leverage on the Industrialization Week to network, showcase and explore trade opportunities with other organizations from the SADC region.
"We hope that our people will seize this opportunity and participate fully in the industrialization week," he said.
The first-ever SADC Industrialization Week was held in August 2016 in the Kingdom of Eswatini, while subsequent events took place in 2017 and 2018 in South Africa and Namibia respectively.
The outcomes of the SADC Industrialization Week normally feed into the Summit agenda, and the July meeting is thus expected to look at ways by which SADC could promote a conducive environment for the private sector to fully contribute to regional integration.
Prior to the Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government scheduled for 17-18 August, there will be meetings of senior officials, followed by the SADC Council of Ministers.
The SADC Council of Ministers, which usually consists of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Economic Planning, or Finance oversees the functioning and development of SADC, and ensures that policies and decisions are implemented.
The Council of Ministers sets the agenda for the SADC Summit.
According to the last Council of Ministers meeting held in March in Windhoek, Namibia, the SADC Summit is expected to deliberate on a wide range of issues, including implementation of the region's operational plans and priority programmes such as industrialization, trade, infrastructure development, as well as the establishment of a regional parliament and consolidation of peace and security.