Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Monday stressed the need for the member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) "to strengthen their cohesion and cooperation in preventing and fighting against cross-border crime, particularly terrorism, in its most varied forms and expressions".
Speaking in Maputo at the closing session of the one-day Heads of State summit of SADC, at which he took over from his Tanzanian counterpart, John Magufuli, as chairperson of the organization, Nyusi stressed "the intrinsic connection" between peace and development.
Clarity about this connection "allows us to define correct strategies on the best way to attain the sustainable development that we have pursued, as SADC, for the past 40 years, as well as how to create resilience, in the face of current regional and global phenomena".
The SADC development agenda, he continued, could not be separated from "the strategic objectives of a deeper regional integration, which consists in forming a regional block, expressed in an effective free trade area, which advances gradually toward a customs union and a common market".
"The creation of a broader market favours efficiency and economies of scale", said Nyusi, "making SADC more attractive to the investment and skills necessary for undertaking projects in various sectors".
"The prospect of a SADC market, in a context of globalization, lays sustainable bases for synchronization and harmonization of industrialization projects and infrastructure, which add value to our primary products, and for the diversification of our economic base and our exports", said Nyusi.
"For all these reasons", he added, "the integration we want will continue to put farmers at the epicentre of our activity, aimed at poverty alleviation, involving greater autonomy in food production".
Nyusi called for "the consolidation of poles of competitiveness within SADC, diluting the segmentation of national markets, eliminating the redundant duplication of infrastructures, and avoiding unnecessary competition and isolated economic enclaves, in favour of a region that is more interdependent, more cohesive, less asymmetrical, and more aligned with the development plans of each member state".
During its 40 years of existence, SADC had achieved a great deal, Nyusi said, including "a climate of relative peace and tranquility in our countries", the existing SADC free trade area, and "maintaining the values of democratic governance".
The organization could be proud of these successes, he continued, "because they were achieved in the face of immense challenges, such as climate change, the economic and financial crisis, organized transnational crime, extremism, and terrorism, to which we can add diseases such as malaria, cholera, HIV/AIDS and ebola".
All such challenges, Nyusi urged, should be regarded "as opportunities to strengthen ourselves as countries and, above all, as a region, and to guarantee that our history is the pride of our peoples".