By Dativa Minja
It was August 2019 when Tanzania was honoured to Chair the Southern African Development Community (SADC) when the regional body handed over the chairmanship to President John Magufuli.
With his style of leadership as Tanzanian President which attracted interests from around the globe, many were eager to see whether he would similarly impose such a style to the regional body.
Immediately after he assumed the Chairmanship at the 39th Summit of Heads of State and government held in Dar es Salaam he gave a moving speech which was full of courage to Africans that they were capable of becoming economically independent. After he succeeded Namibian President, Dr Hage Geingob, he worked closely with SADC organs to ensure his task was successful.
As Tanzanians and Africans mourn the death and cheer his life, many would remember his great contributions to the prosperity of the regional community. One of Dr Magufuli’s positive effects on SADC was the introduction of Kiswahili as one of the official languages of the community.
Some of the success stories during his chairmanship included strong leadership on regional politics, defence and security, good governance, democracy, economic stability and social issues. One of the key areas is security and safety, JPM strived to actively manage and ensure peace and security continued prevailing in the SADC region.
He managed to resolve some disputes, including those involving DRC and Lesotho. Lesotho regained its peace and enabled the people of Lesotho to focus on development. Another issue is economic integration as facilitated cross-border trade, especially using the introduced SADC certificate of origin.
President Magufuli was able to bring about economic stability following the launch of the regional certificate of origin. The system facilitated cross-border trade, especially small and medium businesses.
Dr Magufuli served the purpose of the SADC Business Council, which was inaugurated during his tenure and was able to stimulate productive activities and strengthen cooperation between public and private sectors which is essential for building a modern economy.
During his Chairmanship SADC adopted regional guidelines for harmonising and facilitating the movement of goods and services across the region during the COVID-19 pandemic for strengthening and overseeing cross-border trade. Dr Magufuli also encouraged SADC member states to tell their people to continue doing business despite the effects of COVID-19 and this helped the region to cushion economic growth.
JPM was able to oversee the industrial development agenda launched at the 39th SADC Summit with the objective of enabling environment for sustainable and integrated industrial development, trade and employment within SADC.
He also strived to encourage all member states to prioritise not only building industries, but also creating a conducive environment for the growth of the industrial sector in their countries. One of the key catalysts for developing the industrial sector is electricity whereby the community was able to increase power production to 3,595MW, equivalent to 90 per cent of the targeted 4,000MW.
Another achievement in one year of Dr Magufuli in SADC Chairmanship was that some countries signed an agreement to implement joint venture projects through the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) programme. Some of the agreements signed are between Tanzania and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. – Daily News (Tanzania)