Malawi President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has called for the “banding together for strength and endurance” among Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries for them to successfully address the social and economic jigsaw puzzles the regional block is going through.
Chakwera stated that, at a time when the generation is going through a chasm of a global recession, economic stagnation, food insecurity, a fragile supply chain, rising global commodity prices, and many enemies of progress looking to exploit the suffering of others to cause social unrest and undermine institutions, it is imperative that the bloc should consolidate its efforts against the these challenges.
The Malawi leader was speaking at the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe at the official opening of the 51st Plenary Assembly of the SADC Parliamentary Forum on Monday.
Chakwera drew the attention of the participants to the SADC Parliamentary Forum to the turbulence of a disrupted global economy Malawi has experienced due to impacts of climate change.
“Following the climate change devastation caused by Cyclone Idai in 2019, we had a disputed presidential election, which triggered eight months of protests and a closely followed court battle which led to the annulment of the election and a do-over in June 2020. And just as we were about to get our economy into a higher gear, we were hit by the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, forcing us to put the vehicle of our economy back in neutral through a declaration of natural disaster to slow the progression of the virus within our borders.
“And just as we were starting to recover from that and about to get our economy into gear one again, we were hit by Tropical Storms Ana and Gombe, which left a trail of devastation across our land, and then the knock-on effects of the rising global food, fuel, and fertilizer prices came on to us in quick succession in the wake of the war in Eastern Europe,” said President Chakwera.
But the Malawi leader told the gathering that Malawians are confident about winning the battle against these bad tidings if the SADC family provides its support.
He challenged that there is no storm that can break the bonds of solidarity and brotherhood that bind SADC countries together.
“Not only we will survive this storm together, but we are here to resolve to build the bridges necessary for reaching a brighter to Mr. President, this is why I have noted with pleasure that the theme for this Plenary Assembly is: “Towards Energy Sufficiency, Sustainability and Self-Sufficiency in the SADC Region”. I think this is a well and carefully chosen theme. It is in tandem with the Maseru 1996 SADC Protocol on Energy, which recognizes the importance of energy in pursuit of the SADC vision of economic well-being and poverty eradication in Southern Africa. Therefore, I have no doubt that the deliberations of this Plenary Assembly Session will be guided and anchored on the founding principles and objectives of the Southern African Development Community (SADC),” he said.
Chakwera asked the participants of the 51st SADC PF Plenary Assembly Session to come up with resolutions that will help us in the SADC Region to resolve the energy challenges that the bloc faces and ensure that the region establishes its Regional Parliament as a matter of urgency.