Namibian President Hage Geingob is the incoming chairperson of Southern African Development Community (SADC). Namibia recently hosted the 38th SADC summit of southern African leaders under the theme “Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development.” The summit was held at Safari Court Conference Centre, in Windhoek, on 17th and 18th August 2018. One of the summit’s key roles was to define the overall policy direction and control of functions of the community, ultimately making it the policy-making institution of SADC.
Geingob used the opportunity to speak out about African state reliance on foreign aid particularly from Western countries. He brought up the issue using the African Union’s continued financial challenges due to failure by member states to fulfil their financial contributions, as an example of the existing complacency.
“It’s embarrassing when we ask the very people we condemn, to fund our own organization. It’s shameful, they are laughing at us, here we talk big but we go behind and say could you please finance us, our operations in the AU.”
Addressing the forum Geingob said,”Namibia will continue in earnest to promote the SADC Agenda of Industrialisation and Regional Integration, which is paramount to sustainable development and poverty eradication. We shall endeavor to create a conducive environment for economic development and prosperity in the region.”
President Geingob: During my tenure as Chairperson, I will strive to ensure that SADC remains focused on the promotion of intra-Africa trade. #38thSadcSummit
— Presidency | Republic of Namibia (@NamPresidency) August 17, 2018
Geingob said the decision for all AU member states to implement a point 2% levy on eligible imports to fund the continental body is understandable. “It’s a shame; we therefore support the decision to ensure that Africa countries should be responsible for funding the AU.”
He also rejected the West’s criticism of Africa, saying there was undue pressure on the continent.
“People have an attitude about Africa,” the SADC chairman said in an interview with the French radio network RFI. “Things that they want Africans to do… they don’t demand from other places,” the president said. “In the United States, there are only two parties there, the same philosophy: how come in America there are no communists, no socialists?”
He concluded his opening speech by saying, “…things are done, not to win approval from others, but with a clear belief that it is only through adherence to strong governance principles, that we will be able to improve the standards of living and quality of life of the people of Southern Africa.”