By Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU – The Prime Minister (PM) Rt Hon Ntsoakoane Matekane has attended his first Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit in Luanda, Angola earlier this week since coming into the premiership office, his office has announced.

“The Right Honorable Prime Minister Samuel Matekane will attend the 43rd Ordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government that will be held on 17 August, 2023 in Luanda, Angola under the theme: “Human and financial capital: The key drivers for sustainable industrialization of the SADC Region”.

While there, the PM is expected to bring SADC Heads of State and Government up to speed with the latest progress the country has registered on the ongoing national reforms process.

It will be recalled that last month, SADC sent a delegation to Lesotho to learn on the progress of the reforms process and it was led by the former President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete. This delegation has also met different stakeholders involved in the reforms process but did not have an audience with the media.

Early this week, the Speaker of the Parliament, Rt Hon Tlohang Sekhamane convened the house from the winter recess to address the reforms.

Some of the key issues that will receive the attention at the Summit include the presentation of the Chairperson’s report on Politics, Defense, and Security Cooperation, an assessment of advancements in executing the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Plan 2020-2030, progress made on the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Road Map 2015-2063 , and a review of the achievements related to the previous summit’s theme: “Promoting industrialization through agro-processing , mineral beneficiation, and regional value chains for inclusive and resilient economic growth”.

Additionally, since Zimbabwe is heading into national elections later this month, this topic is also most likely featured in the agenda at the Summit.

There will also be an announcement of the SADC journalism competition winners and student’s competition winners.

During the Summit, the President of Angola, HE João Manuel Gonçlaves Lourenço will take over the chairmanship of SADC from the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), HE Félix Tshisekedi Tshilombo.

Angola’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Téte António had on Sunday took over the Chairpersonship of the Council of Ministers.

Preceding the Summit were some of the following events some of which are yet to take place: a Public Lecture titled ‘Dynamics of SADC Integration-Achievements, Challenges and Outlook’ on August 12, the Meeting of SADC Council of Ministers on August 13 to 14, and Organ Troika Summit to happen on August 16.

The SADC Summit convenes yearly and draws participation from the Heads of State and Government representing the 16 Member States: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, DRC, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The PM’s delegation is made of the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Dr Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane, Minister of Trade, Industry, Business Development and Tourism, Hon Mokhethi Shelile and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Hon Lejone Mpotjoane.