Issue 06 | 19 August 2017  
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At the Official Opening Ceremony on 19 August 2017, King Mswati III of Swaziland handed over the chairship of the Summit to President Jacob Zuma of South Africa. South Africa will chair SADC from August 2017 to August 2018.
Around 350 dignitaries and guests gathered at the OR Tambo Building, the head office of the Department of International Relations in Pretoria, for the Official Opening Ceremony of the 37th SADC Summit.

The Executive Secretary of SADC, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax provided an overview of the status of SADC and its achievements over the past year in her introductory remarks.

Welcoming delegates to the Summit, President Jacob Zuma said the meeting of Heads of State and Government was important as it provided an opportunity to engage on the progress and challenges in terms of implementing the SADC Integration Agenda during the past year.

He indicated that as Incoming Chair of SADC, South Africa had been working closely with the Kingdom of Swaziland and the SADC Secretariat towards ensuring a smooth transition and emphasised South Africa’s commitment towards building on gains made thus far, as well as identifying solutions to challenges that have impeded progress.

The Keynote Address was delivered by King Mswati III from Swaziland, as the outgoing chairperson of SADC. He extended his appreciation to South Africa for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to the delegations.

He thanked all member states for their support during Swaziland’s chairship of SADC. He also thanked the SADC Secretariat for their support.

The King ceremonially handed over the chairship to President Zuma, as the incoming chairperson.
In his acceptance statement, President Zuma said South Africa intended to advance progress made by the previous SADC chairpersons. He said it was of central importance to SADC to add value to its resources and to grow intra-regional trade and the regional brand.

Key activities during South Africa’s chairship, as announced by the President, include:

  • the development of a high impact Annual Operation Plan with targeted interventions and public policy tools to foster the development of regional value-chains in agro-processing, pharmaceuticals and mineral beneficiation.

  • promote a Member State driven process through the Industrial Development Forum to facilitate the identification of cross-border projects that will strengthen regional value-chains and contribute to the development of the region.

  • in addition to the initiative started by Swaziland on the establishment of the University of Transformation, introduce a new programme to develop capacity in industrial policy making and implementation for senior officials in the SADC region.

  • as food security remains a critical component of the developmental path, South Africa will work closely with the SADC community in developing and rolling out a model, in terms of prevention, surveillance and in dealing with destructive invasive species.

  • taking the lead from Swaziland, there is a need to promote region-wide integrated energy planning and cooperation in the development of priority energy infrastructure and maintenance projects, with the view to attract private sector investment. As a new initiative, South Africa proposes the establishment of an Inter-state Natural Gas Committee to share learning for regional gas development and to prepare for the development of the wider gas economy.

  • prioritise the conclusion of the Trade in Services negotiations in SADC. The prioritised sectors include construction, communication, transport, finance, energy and tourism. This will put the SADC region in a firm position to engage in the Continental FTA negotiations.
“Our cooperation as a region will allow our economies to overcome the challenge of small, fragmented economies, and create a larger market that improves the region’s prospects to attract investment.

“We will also need to work together towards the objective of broadening integration through the establishment of the Tripartite Free Trade Area, and the Continental FTA.

“I am pleased to inform this August gathering that South Africa has recently appended its signature to the agreement establishing the TFTA, thereby becoming the 19th Member State out of the 26 nations to do so. This augurs well for our long standing decision to support regional economic integration,” President Zuma said. He concluded: “It is my hope that this Summit, and our celebration of twenty five years as SADC, will be a time for reflection and renewed cooperation towards our shared common future of a prosperous and peaceful SADC region.”

Other speakers during the ceremony included the Dr Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank.

The President of the Seychelles, Danny Faure, and the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho, Dr Thomas Thabane, made their maiden speeches to the gathering.

The Ratshepo Secondary School Choir from Hammanskraal performed the South African and SADC Anthems, while the guests were also treated to cultural interventions by the Market Theatre and Woza, Imoshi.
Watch the video of the Official Opening Ceremony:
Watch President Zuma’s address during the Official Opening Ceremony:
The former chairperson of SADC, King Mswati III of Swaziland, handed over prizes to the regional winners of the 2017 SADC Secondary School Essay Competition and Media Awards during the Official Opening Ceremony of the 37th SADC Summit.
The 2017 SADC Media winners






Gasietsiwe Moruakgomo



Patson Phiri



Aristides Kito Afonso Jorge

South Africa


Mbisi Nkosini Samuel and Dennis Tshetlhane

The 2017 SADC Secondary School Essay winners





1st prize

Paul Jiva


2nd prize

Boemo Tamocha


3rd prize

Prudence Mavura

The SADC Media Awards were initially launched in 1996, with the aim to recognise excellence in journalism in the areas of print, photojournalism, television, radio as well as to encourage media practitioners in member states to cover issues pertaining to the region for the purposes of promoting regional integration and cooperation. They further seek to enhance partnerships between media and Government institutions.

The Essay writing competition aims to teach secondary school learners about SADC and its activities. The topic for 2017 was “Resource Mobilisation for investment in Sustainable Energy Infrastructure for inclusive SADC Industrialisation for the Prosperity of the Region”.

As part of their programme during the Summit, the winners will be hosted by Gauteng Tourism prior to attending the Official Closing Ceremony of the Summit on 20 August. They will then also be recognised during a gala dinner hosted by South Africa’s Communications Minister, Ayanda Dlodlo, at Freedom Park.
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Editor: Michelle Greeff
Picture Editor: Jacoline Schoonees
Design and layout: René Marneweck


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