Southern Africa: SADC Ups Fight Against Covid-19, Terrorism

The SADC's Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government is to be held on August 17, 2020.

Maputo, Mozambique — Mozambique is taking over as the new chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional bloc.

The fight against terrorism in the country and the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the region are to dominate Mozambique's tenure.

Led by President Filipe Nyusi, Mozambique takes over from Tanzania as the new chair of the 16-nation bloc that also includes South Africa.

Botswana, led by President Mokgweetsi Masisi, is the new chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, succeeding Zimbabwe's president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The leadership changes are the culmination of a week-long summit Mozambique hosted.

Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, it was the first time since SADC's formation that the summit was hosted virtually.

The highlight of the summit was the meeting of the Council of Ministers where a call was made for strong and coordinated measures for the region to address the impact of COVID-19.

SADC is the region worst affected by the pandemic, with South Africa having the biggest number of cases at 583 653, including 11 677 deaths.

The Council of Ministers is responsible for overseeing the functioning and development of SADC.

Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, the SADC Executive Secretary, commended Member States for measures put in place to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19.

"The measures will reduce human suffering, and minimise the damage to SADC economies," she said.

Zimbabwe Foreign Affairs Minister, Sibusiso Moyo, said his country had played a pivotal role in seeking solutions to the terrorism afflicting Mozambique, as it threatened to be regional crisis.

He confirmed Mozambique had requested Zimbabwe's military assistance to eradicate the insurgency that has left hundreds of people dead in Cabo Delgado since 2017.

Zimbabwe also resolved the border dispute between Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia.

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