Past immediate chairperson for SADC council of Ministers Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said Zimbabwe is happy with what they have achieved when they were chairing the regional block.
In an interview after the closing ceremony of the 35th Ordinary Summit of SADC heads of State and Government, Mumbengegwi said that they managed to come up with the Regional Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap. “This was approved by the SADC Summit in April this year and this I believe is one of the best strategies that have ever come out of SADC,” said the elated Zimbabwean Foreign Affairs Minister.
He said that both SADC Council of Ministers and Heads of State have agreed that the Regional Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap will be part of any regional block meeting. Mumbengegwi was quick to add that though this happened under the leadership of Zimbabwe, it was a collective achievement for the organisation.
SADC is facing many challenges and with the implementation of the industrialization strategy, Mumbengegwi is adamant that the region can attain some of its milestones especially the economic integration.
He said that the region is endowed with many natural resources but in most cases they are exported in their raw form making the regional block lose a lot of revenue hence the need to robustly develop and implement industrialization strategy. The regional block according to the former chairperson of council of ministers was also able to finalize the Revised SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Plan 2015-2020.
Mumbengegwi who handed the chairpersonship baton to Botswana’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning Kenneth Matambo said that it was also under the able leadership of Zimbabwe that the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Trade Area (TFTA) was launched in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
He added that the negotiations for the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) which were launched in Pretoria, South Africa during the African Union Summit will go down as some of the milestones achieved in the 12 months Harare led the regional block.
Recently SADC Secretariat was dogged by allegations of corruption and misappropriation of funds, and when asked about the issue, the outspoken Mumbengegwi said that he is not aware of that.“That is news to me because we worked well with the secretariat and had several meetings with them and was satisfied with their performance,” he said.
Mumbengegwi was optimistic that Botswana will do a sterling job in ensuring that the regional block economically emancipates itself from heavily depending on international partners to implement their projects.