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newsroom 08-17-2015 09:56 AM

SADC summit kicks off in Botswana
President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will join leaders from other Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states at the 35th regional summit which kicks off in Gaborone, Botswana, this morning.

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has been appointed as acting President while the two are out of the country.

President Jacob Zuma arrived on Sunday in Gaborone for the summit which will take place under the theme "Accelerating Industrialisation of SADC Economies through Transformation of Natural Endowment and Improved Human Capital”.

The President is leading a delegation which includes International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, State Security Minister David Mahlobo and Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas.

It is expected that the 35th SADC Summit will focus on, amongst other things, the implementation of the recently adopted Regional Industrialisation Strategy that was approved during the Extra-ordinary SADC Summit in April 2015 in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The summit is also expected to review progress towards achieving the objectives outlined in the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2015 – 2020.

The RISDP is the blueprint for the SADC programme of action on achieving regional economic development and will guide the implementation of SADC programmes over the next five years.

However, pressing development challenges faced by some member states such as water and electricity shortages will also feature in the discussions of the leaders.

As the outgoing chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, South Africa will give a report to the summit on matters relating to the work of the organ.

Meanwhile, Botswana President Ian Khama is set to become the next SADC chairperson when Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe hands over the position.

Mugabe is expected to hand over the one-year chairmanship to Khama at the 35th summit of Heads of State and Government. -

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