By REBECCA MUSHOTA –
GOVERNMENT has reiterated its commitment to fostering strong economic linkages in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Malanji said regional integration in peace, industrial development and trade remained a vital catalyst to economic development in Southern Africa.
He said this at the SADC Council of Ministers meeting in Pretoria, South Africa yesterday.
This is according to a statement issued by First Secretary for Press at the Zambian Mission in Botswana and SADC Kasabo Kalusa.
Mr Malanji said at the meeting that a robust approach in the implementation of development programmes in the regional bloc would stimulate increased economic activity that would improve the living standards of people.
“Regional integration continues to be one of Zambia’s key strategies of economic diplomacy to ensure enhanced implementation of critical regional programmes which will improve the lives of the Zambian people and the region at large,” he said.
He said that the ministers in the region would seek to review the performance of SADC member states’ interaction with the private sector in developing industry and regional value chains.
Mr Malanji said he was confident that advanced infrastructure development such as the construction of the Kazungula Bridge in the North-South Corridor and the accelerated improvement in education, health, agriculture and power generation would play a critical role in advancing the economic prospects of the 16 member States in the Southern African regional bloc.
Meanwhile, the SADC Council of Ministers has congratulated Mr Malanji on his appointment as Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister.
South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu, who is the chairperson of the Council welcomed Mr Malanji to the SADC Council of Ministers.
The Minister is accompanied by his counterpart in the Ministry of Commerce Christopher Yaluma and senior government officials from Cabinet Office, the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Finance.