SA International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu with her Namibian counterpart Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah. Picture: Supplied by DIRCO News Service/Jacoline Schoonees

Johannesburg - South Africa's International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu on Monday handed over the chair of the SADC Council of Ministers to her Namibian counterpart, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwa, who is also deputy prime minister, saying women continue to enhance "our shared vision of attaining a stable, peaceful, secure and prosperous" region. 

Sisulu arrived in Windhoek, Namibia, earlier Monday to attend the two-day SADC Council of Ministers' meeting which ends Tuesday.

Speaking directly to her successor, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwa, Sisulu said that for South Africa, August was Women’s month and every year during this time the sacrifices and contributions of women in the struggle for a democratic and free nation were remembered. 

"At a regional level, women continue to enhance our shared vision of attaining a stable, peaceful, secure and prosperous SADC community," said Sisulu.

She recalled that when South Africa was afforded the opportunity to chair SADC, taking over from the Kingdom of Eswatini, the country resolved to build on the initiatives that were started in Victoria Falls, taken to Gaborone and later to Lozitha. 

Sisulu added that the focus on industrial development, promotion of regional value chains and value addition in the region needed to be maintained. 

"In this regard, the theme for our tenure of office 'Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains', was chosen with the full realisation that our goals can only be met if we focus on strong and meaningful partnerships with the private sector, which is part of the engine for sustainable economic growth," said Sisulu.

The SADC Council of Ministers Meeting is one of the meetings which precede the 38th Ordinary SADC Summit of heads of state and government which will be hosted by Namibia on Friday and Saturday.

The Council consists of ministers from each of the 16 member states. It oversees the functioning of and development of SADC and ensures that policies and decisions are implemented. It is usually made up of ministers of foreign affairs (international relations) and economic planning or finance.

The 38th SADC Summit is expected to discuss key regional issues which include, the status of member states contributions, an overview of the socio-economic situation and state of peace and security.

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African News Agency (ANA)