TANZANIA will host the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Counter Terrorism Centre, as the region seeks to heighten efforts to thwart terrorism threats and cybercrime.
Reading a communiqué at the 41st SADC Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and government in Lilongwe, Malawi yesterday, the outgone SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Tax, said the centre expects to offer dedicated and strategic advisory services to the region on terrorism threats and cybercrime, which challenged the region in the past year.
"As part of the SADC Regional Counter-Terrorism Strategy that was approved by Summit in 2015, Tanzania has offered to host the Regional Counter Terrorism Centre to make sure the region deals with security threats," Dr Tax said.
Once the centre is operational, the region will enhance efforts and the coordination of measures to address terrorism. The Centre is expected to enable synergies with National and Regional Early Warning Centres.
Ahead of the summit, SADC's Ministerial Committee of the Organ (MCO) meeting had agreed to move with speed in implementing the Regional Counter-Terrorism Strategy and its Action Plan, and recommendations of the Security Threats Assessment Report.
During the summit yesterday, President Samia Suluhu Hassan along with other regional presidents signed four agreements with one amending SADC protocol on the control of firearms, ammunition and other related materials.
The amended agreement seeks to broaden the application of the protocol to include conventional weapons; align it with the international conventions, and incorporate contemporary threats of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the region.
It further focuses on best practices and standards for prevention and combating illicit proliferation, circulation and trafficking of firearms, ammunition and related materials.
Another agreement signed by President Samia at the summit was on the Status of the SADC standby force and its components in deployment within the region for training, peace support operation, exercises and humanitarian help.
Other agreements that the summit approved and signed by Heads of State were the protocol on statistics and an agreement amending the SADC protocol on energy.
The summit equally approved the appointment of Mr Elias Mpedi Magosi as the new SADC Executive Secretary and agreed that the next summit will take place in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in August 2022.
Dr Tax said the summit endorsed an action plan for implementing the Security Threats Report and urged the member states to start interventions in the plan.
In elaboration, the summit urged the Kingdom of Lesotho to hasten the completion of the ongoing reforms and to continue with peace, transitional justice and reconciliation process to engender national unity and bring about national healing and cohesion.
She said the summit received updates on the security situation in Cabo Delgado Province, in the Northern part of the Republic of Mozambique, and commended SADC member states for pledging personnel and providing financial support towards the deployment of SADC Standby Force to Mozambique.
Dr Tax said the summit received reports on the socio-economic overview in the region, regional food and nutrition security, gender and development, HIV-AIDS, and on implementing the 40th Summit Theme, "SADC 40 Years Building Peace and Security, and Promoting Development and Resilience in the Face of Global Challenges" and commended the Outgoing Chairperson of SADC, President of the Republic of Mozambique Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, for his exemplary leadership during his tenure.