ITGA, Tobacco, AGM, Tobacco types, social responsability, agriculture, farmers, tobacco production, alternative crops, fctc, tobacco leaf, tobacco courier, tobacco growers, crop, growing countries

ITGA, Tobacco, AGM, Tobacco types, social responsability, agriculture, farmers, tobacco production, alternative crops, fctc, tobacco leaf, tobacco courier, tobacco growers, crop, growing countries

ITGA, Tobacco, AGM, Tobacco types, social responsability, agriculture, farmers, tobacco production, alternative crops, fctc, tobacco leaf, tobacco courier, tobacco growers, crop, growing countries

ITGA, Tobacco, AGM, Tobacco types, social responsability, agriculture, farmers, tobacco production, alternative crops, fctc, tobacco leaf, tobacco courier, tobacco growers, crop, growing countries

ITGA, Tobacco, AGM, Tobacco types, social responsability, agriculture, farmers, tobacco production, alternative crops, fctc, tobacco leaf, tobacco courier, tobacco growers, crop, growing countries
NEWSLETTER
News
 President Joyce Banda´s statement at SADC meeting in August 2013: “ In the case of our tobacco farmers, the global advocacy campaigns threaten their ability to earn a living”
 

 ACCEPTANCE STATEMENT BY

HER EXCELLENCY DR. JOYCE BANDA
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALAWI

ON THE OCCASION OF THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE THIRTY THIRD ORDINARY SUMMIT OF THE SADC HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT

  • Your Excellency, Armando Emilio Guebuza, Chairperson of SADC, and President of the Republic of Mozambique;
  • Your Excellency, Jakaya Kikwete, Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation, and President of the United Republic of Tanzania;
  • Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government;
  • Your Excellencies, First Spouses;
  • Your Excellency, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission;
  • Your Honour Henry Chimunthu Banda, MP, Speaker of the National Assembly;
  • Your Honour Anastasia Msosa SC, Chief Justice of the Republic of Malawi;
  • Your Excellencies, High Commissioners and Ambassadors accredited to Malawi;
  • Your Excellency, Dr Tomaz Augusto Salomão, SADC Executive Secretary;
  • Your Excellency, Dr Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank;
  • Your Excellency, Dr Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA);
  • Your Excellencies, Heads of Regional and International Organisations here present;
  • Your Excellencies, Secretary Generals of COMESA and East African Community;
  • Chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers;
  • Honourable Ministers;
  • Officials from the SADC Member States;
  • Distinguished Delegates, Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am humbled to stand here before you all and accept the leadership of our regional body, the Southern African Development Community (SADC). I want to thank my Dear Brother, His Excellency Armando Emilio Guebuza, President of the Republic of Mozambique and Outgoing Chairperson of SADC, for his wise
leadership  during his one year tenure of office. I wish to acknowledge in a special the support that I have received from President Guebuza which has prepared me for the role of Chairmanship that I have assumed.

Furthermore, I acknowledge the leadership provided by my Brother, His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, and the Outgoing Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, in promoting the principles of democracy, rule of law, peace and security in the Region.

On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Malawi, and indeed, on my own behalf, I wish to thank Your Excellencies and your respective Governments for your commitment to championing the SADC integration agenda, and facilitating the implementation of its programmes and projects, through your able steering of Summit and Council Decisions.

Both President Guebuza and President Kikwete have been actively involved in peace seeking efforts in our region- this is what SADC is known for: a peace loving region.

I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate my Dear Brother, His Excellency Hifipunye Pohamba, President of the Republic of Namibia, and Incoming Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. I have every confidence that together we can drive the agenda for sustainable peace and security in our region.

Your Excellencies and Distinguished Delegates

Each year we gather to discuss what we might do together to address the problems that confront the peoples of our region.

The expectations of our people are high. As incoming Chair, I feel the weight of these expectations.

Your Excellencies and Distinguished Delegates

Millions of our young people in the region face a daily struggle to survive: they cannot find jobs. They cannot go to school. Even if they do, they are not able to secure employable skills.

Millions of our women and men struggle to survive in conditions of poverty, deprivation and underdevelopment. They are hungry for food, through no fault of their own. They die from preventable diseases, through no fault of their own. They die giving birth to another life, through no fault of their own. They are raped in their homes and communities. They suffer violence at home, at school, and in their communities, through no fault of their own. Many of them have lost their dignity, through no fault of their own.

These are the SADC citizens who pay taxes. These are SADC citizens who vote. These are our citizens and our neighbours. They work for us and we work for them. And yet, when they hear our voices and observe our actions, they see that in reality, sometimes we do not always work for them. Our actions suggest that the poor should care for the poor.

I strongly believe, as I am sure you do, that to achieve durable and long-lasting peace and stability in our countries and our region, we must start with the war against poverty. We must fight the war to end the contemporary, deliberate and savage violence of poverty and underdevelopment of our people, particularly those in our rural communities. To win this war, we must encourage political tolerance and the rule of law. We must promote inclusive politics. In this, we cannot afford to leave the youth behind. We cannot afford to leave women behind. We cannot afford to leave the poor to look after the poor.

As Chair of this great community, I hope to drive initiatives that bring SADC closer to the people for whom it works; a people centred SADC. In short – a SADC for the people and by the people.

Your Excellencies and Distinguished Delegates

We have a busy agenda for the next two days and, indeed, the year ahead.
Africa is a continent on the move. But the economic downturn of recent years has highlighted the vulnerability of our economies to external shocks. We need to intensify our efforts towards regional integration in every sense, reminding ourselves that as we strengthen the ties that bind us, we build our resilience against future shocks.

Despite the recent and on-going benefits of the commodities boom, agriculture remains the engine of our long-term, sustainable growth. I have therefore chosen as the theme for my term as Chair of SADC, to promote our regional integration agenda through a focus on “Agricultural Development and Agro-Industries: Key to Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction in SADC Region”.

I have chosen this theme for two reasons. Firstly, because it builds on and compliments the work of the outgoing Chair His Excellency President Armando Emilio Guebuza on development corridors as vehicles for SADC regional integration.

Secondly, for much of our region, agriculture is the largest employer, the largest component of Growth Domestic Product and the biggest generator of foreign exchange. Stimulating this sector, by encouraging diversification, commercialisation and value addition, will encourage broad based inclusive growth. It will transform the livelihoods of our people and provide the foundations for the future economic development of our region.

I believe that it is time for people in SADC region to manage agriculture as a business. Because our farmers must cope with adverse weather conditions, climate change, poor infrastructure and access to markets, we need to develop more innovative approaches to agriculture. We also need new partnerships from private sector to drive agriculture in this region.

We need to work harder to help our smallholder and commercial farmers build, grow and sustain their businesses, to feed ourselves and access new markets beyond our region.

In the case of our tobacco farmers, the global advocacy campaigns threaten their ability to earn a living. Tobacco is an important product to the economies of most of SADC member states. It is against this background that Malawi would like to voice its serious concerns over legislation that is being enacted globally for the removal of tobacco additives and flavourings. This has an adverse and dire impact on growing of burley tobacco in the region by both small-scale and large tobacco farmers.

Your Excellencies and Distinguished Delegates

As we concentrate our collective efforts around driving agricultural development, I hope also in my term as Chair to drive progress on issues that are essential for our development as a community.

We have all been disappointed by the unsatisfactory progress of trade negotiations with the European Union and the Doha Development Round. Though difficult, they remain important. Expanding market access opportunities in agriculture – and other sectors – remains essential.

Promoting intra-regional trade remains a fundamental objective of this regional body. While we have taken steps to open our markets for the movement of goods, I believe we need to strengthen our efforts on the free movement of people. We cannot meaningfully talk of regional integration if our people are not actually free to move within the region. In this regards, we may be encouraged by our brothers and sisters in West Africa, who have demonstrated that the free movement of people can deepen and broaden regional integration.

We also need to fast-track the implementation of the new SADC Industrialisation Policy Framework, the SADC Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan and the SADC Trade Facilitation Instruments. These policies complement the on-going work of the SADC Protocols on Trade, Trade in Services and Finance and Investment. These processes will ultimately accelerate our regional integration agenda and our integration into the continental and global economies.

I also wish to accelerate progress on policies and processes that are essential to our functioning as a community and for planning our future. During the Summit we will receive a progress report on the Mid-Term Review of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan for 2003-2018. Going forward, I undertake to strengthen coordination between the Secretariat and Member States so that the Final Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan reflects input from all relevant stakeholders.

I am particularly keen to ensure that SADC has a strong voice in the global debate on the post-2015 global development agenda. To do so, we as a community, need an honest and thorough assessment of our progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As you are aware, a recent evaluation of our MDGs status revealed that a number of targets will be missed. It is imperative that we understand our successes and failures and redouble our efforts to meet these goals in the long term.

I have experienced that commitment pays. I say this having seen the progress that Malawi has made within a short time in fast tracking implementation of MGD 5 on maternal health. Just a few years ago, Malawi’s maternal mortality ratios were as high as 1,200 deaths per 100,000 live births. But with renewed effort we among other things strengthened our human capacity in the health sector, mobilised local leadership and developed partnership with private sector to equip resource poor health facilities. The redoubling of our efforts has paid effort, as at now our experts are indicating that maternal mortality ratios have dropped from the 1,200 deaths to 460 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Your Excellencies and Distinguished Delegates

I will fail in my job if I do not recognise some of the achievements and successes that our regional organisation has registered.

I am pleased to note that SADC has done well in promotion of women in leadership and decision making positions. Since the signing of the historic Gender and Development Declaration in Blantyre in 1997, and the adoption of the SADC Gender Protocol in 2008, the region has demonstrated its commitment to empowerment of women. We have ushered women into positions of power- among them Chairperson for the AU Commission Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Executive Director for UN Women Mrs Phumzile Mlambo Nquka, The Chairperson of the Pan African Parliament Mrs Getrude Mongella, Vice President of Zimbabwe Joyce Mujuru, and I am also testimony of this achievement having become first female president of my country. We are proud of this achievement.

The SADC region can also boasts of creating a conducive environment to foreign direct investment. Trade liberalization, the strengthening of the rule of law, political stability, improvements in legal and other instruments as well as the telecommunications and transport infrastructures are some of positive developments in the region.

In addition, infrastructure and technology are moving fast connecting the countries in the region to each other and to the rest of the world at an unprecedented rate.

Your Excellencies and Distinguished delegates

In conclusion, let me reaffirm my Government’s commitment to the ideals, values and principles of SADC, that are aimed at achieving inclusive, equitable and sustainable economic growth, and political stability. Our ultimate objective is to eradicate poverty and uplift the living standards of the people of our region.

I strongly believe, that with your support, my Government will successfully advance the regional integration agenda during my Chairmanship. I want to assure Your Excellencies and delegates that my Government is committed to conducting the affairs of SADC during its Chairmanship in a democratic, transparent and accountable manner for the welfare of the people of our region.

In closing, I wish to ask of you – as my colleagues and brothers and sisters – that we work to ensure that the poor play a role, not merely as recipients of charity and goodwill, but as co-determinants of what happens in the common community in which we all live. As I have said nothing about the poor without them.

The essential question we have to answer at this Summit is whether we have the courage and the conscience to demonstrate our will to ensure that we will permit no situation that denies any member of our community their dignity?

I am sure that all of us have the same answer to that question: yes, we do! Yes, we can realise our dream. I foresee a region that is peaceful and stable; a region that is an economic powerhouse; a region that feeds itself and becomes a breadbasket of the Continent; a region that provides decent jobs and decent livelihoods to our people. I see a region whose people enjoy robust health and are highly educated in all relevant skills. From the Indian Ocean to the Pacific, I see a region that trades more with itself, adds value to its produce and invests more from within. I see a region that is more interconnected and integrated. I see a region where its people criss-cross its hills and valleys without artificial restrictions and barriers.

Once again I wish to welcome you to the Warm Heart of Africa.

I thank you for your kind attention

Long Live SADC !

Dr Joyce Banda
President
Republic of Malawi
SADC Chairperson

In wavuti