Southern Africa: SADC Summit Briefs ... SADC Approves Kiswahili As Fourth Language

SADC leaders at the 39th SADC Summit.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has approved Kiswahili as the fourth SADC official working language, adding it to English, French and Portuguese. The decision is in recognition of the language's contribution and Julius Nyerere's role during the liberation struggle, SADC says. This comes at a time when Namibia has been discussing whether Kiswahili should be introduced into the school curriculum.

Kiswahili is spoken by five million people as a native language, and by 135 million as a second language. It's mostly spoken in East Africa.


The summit thanked South Africa and Angola for providing financial assistance to Madagascar to conduct their 2018 presidential elections. Madagascar's president, Andry Rajoelina, won the elections with more than 55% of the vote in the Indian Ocean island.

Madagascar, Malawi, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros and Eswatini all held "peaceful and successful" elections last year and this year.


Geingob expressed concerns that young people continue to move from Africa in search of greener pastures, making them vulnerable to exploitation. He said this last weekend during the summit.

He added that challenges faced by the youth such as unemployment and underemployment force them to engage in risky behaviour, such as armed disobedience and drug use.


Geingob served as SADC chair from last year until last weekend when he handed over the position to Tanzania's president, Joseph Magufuli, also known as 'The Bulldozer' because of the quick speed in which he implemented the promises he made during his presidential campaign. Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi will take over as chairperson of the regional block next year. The summit also elected Zimbabwe's president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, as the chairperson of the organ on politics, defence and security.


The summit noted the acts of extremism and terrorism in the Democratic Republic of Congo, especially in Beni, a city in the north-eastern part, and agreed to continue collaborating with the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region and consolidate efforts towards political and security stabilisation. Member states were also urged to prioritise the implementation of the SADC regional counter-terrorism strategy and its action plan.

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