Sadc Summit: Zimbabwe’s grand preparations revealed

File Pic: His Excellency President ED Mnangagwa with his Zambian counterpart President Hakainde Hichilema

Preparations for the 44th Sadc Heads of State and Government Summit that Zimbabwe will host in August, began yesterday with a meeting between various ministries led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and officials from the Sadc Secretariat.

The Summit is expected to run from August 17 to 18, and President Mnangagwa will assume the Chairmanship position when Zimbabwe takes over leadership of the regional body for a year.

Presently, Zimbabwe is vice-chair of the regional bloc.

Sadc Secretariat officials virtually attended yesterday’s meeting.

In her remarks, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ambassador Rofina Chikava expressed Zimbabwe’s readiness to host the summit at a venue yet to be finalised.

“This is a very important meeting for us; the first preparatory meeting for the Sadc Summit, which we are going to host,” said Ambassador Chikava.

“We also want to express our readiness as the Republic of Zimbabwe to work together with the Sadc Secretariat to ensure the successful hosting of the 44th Sadc Summit in Zimbabwe. We want to assure you of Zimbabwe’s commitment to adhere to the Sadc standards for the preparations and hosting of summits.

“We are going to adhere to that. It is an honour to be hosting this important summit for the region.”

Ambassador Chikava added that yesterday’s meeting was the first of such meetings that will be held to update all parties of what they were doing and would be guided by guidelines of hosting the Sadc Summit.

Sadc Deputy Executive Secretary, Dr Judith Kateera, said the proposed dates for the summit would also coincide with commemorations to mark Sadc Day.

“I wish to state that we are all now ready, preparing for the hosting of the summit on the proposed dates of August 17 to 18, 2024,” she said.

“I am fully aware that these dates are proposed as we also seek to commemorate Sadc Day, which falls on August 17 every year. However, we are also aware that we are waiting for the Government of Zimbabwe to officially confirm the dates and venue of the summit.

“I wish to highlight that this meeting seeks to share information regarding hosting guidelines and preparations. We hope that by sharing this information we should all be able to set our systems and putting them in place and assigning responsibilities to our staff. Ideally this should be followed by a visit to Zimbabwe by a Sadc technical team which will come to further engage you and commence preparations for the Council (of Ministers) and Summit meetings.”

The Sadc technical team would comprise various senior officials from public relations, conference services unit, finance, administration, ICT and industrial policy.

The officials will be looking at the various components of the key meetings that will be taking place during the summit.

In his acceptance speech during the 43rd SADC Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government in Luanda, Angola last year, President Mnangagwa reiterated Zimbabwe’s readiness to work for the 16-member regional bloc once it assumes the position of Chair.

“Zimbabwe, with great honour, accepts the position of incoming Chair of SADC. It will be yet another opportunity for Zimbabwe to demonstrate its commitment and readiness to work for the development of our region,” he said.

Zimbabwe last chaired Sadc from August 2014 to August 2015.

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