TANZANIA writes yet another history as all eyes are on the country with all the 'number one citizens' of southern African nations gathering in Dar es Salaam for the 39th Southern African Development Community Summit (SADC) Summit.
The newly commissioned state-of-the-art Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) Terminal Three was a hive of activity yesterday as one leader after the other arrived, ready for the event that kicks off today at the JNICC.
And, Tanzanian President John Magufuli officially takes over the SADC Chairmanship from his Namibian counterpart, Dr Hage Geingob this morning, becoming the second President from the East African country to lead the 16-nation regional economic integration organ.
The first Tanzanian leader to Chair the Bloc was President Benjamin Mkapa, who took over the reins in 2003. The theme for this year's Summit is, "A Conducive Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, Increased Intra-trade and Job Creation."
The Heads of State and Government joined their South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, who arrived in the country on Wednesday for a three-day State Visit ahead of the 39th SADC Summit.
Among other things, the meeting will receive and decide on recommendations by the SADC Council of Ministers that Kiswahili be adopted as the fourth medium of communication within the region.
The SADC Council of Ministers' meeting held this week approved 107 recommendations to be presented to the SADC Heads of State and Government for approval.
The meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Tanzanian Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi, who took over from Namibian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Netumbo Ndaitwah.
The SADC Summit is responsible for the overall policy direction and control of functions of the Community, ultimately making it the policymaking institution of the Bloc.
It is made up of all SADC Heads of State and Government and is managed on a Troika system that comprises the current Chairperson, the incoming Chairperson and the previous Chairperson.
The ordinary summit usually meets once a year around August or September in a Member State of the incoming SADC Chairperson.
The current SADC troika comprises President Dr Hage Geingob, of Namibia as the Chairperson of SADC; his predecessor President Cyril Ramaphosa, of South Africa as the outgoing Chairperson and President Dr John Joseph Magufuli of Tanzania as the incoming Chairperson.
The troika for the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation comprises of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu of Zambia as Chairperson of the Organ; his predecessor H.E. President João Lourenço, of Angola and President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe as the incoming Chairperson of the Organ.
The United Republic of Tanzania last hosted the SADC Summit 16 years ago, in 2003, under the Chairpersonship of former President Benjamin Mkapa.
The ordinary SADC Summit was preceded by a series of meetings and events, namely, the meeting of the SADC Standing Committee of Senior Officials; the SADC Finance subcommittee; SADC Council of Ministers Meeting; and Ministerial Council of the Organ and Double Troika Summit.