News / Africa

New SADC Chair Banda Emphasizes Agriculture

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, right, welcomes Malawian counterpart Joyce Banda upon her arrival at Harare International Airport, April 23, 2013.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, right, welcomes Malawian counterpart Joyce Banda upon her arrival at Harare International Airport, April 23, 2013.
Lameck Masina
The newly appointed chairperson for the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Malawi President Joyce Banda, has called upon fellow leaders to champion agricultural development and agro-industries production as a means to promote regional integration.
 
An enthusiastic welcome greeted Banda's appearance during the Southern African leaders annual summit, which started on Saturday with an endorsement of the disputed elections in Zimbabwe that extended President Robert Mugabe's 33-year rule by another five years.
 
Choosing to focus on agricultural investment's key role in ending regional poverty, she said that although agriculture is a key to development, countries must add value to their products.
 
“In much of our region, agriculture is the largest employer and biggest generator of foreign exchange. Stimulating this sector would transform the livelihoods of our people and provide the foundation for the future development of our nations," she said. "We need to work harder to help our smallholder and commercial farmers to build, grow and sustain their businesses, to feed ourselves and access new markets beyond our region."
 
With tobacco representing one of the major cash crops in the region, Malawi's leader expressed concern about the tobacco anti-smoking lobby being championed by the World Health Organization.
 
“Malawi would like to voice serious concern over the legislation that is being enacted globally for the removal of tobacco additives and flavorings," she said, adding that the lobby has "an adverse and dire impact" on tobacco farms both small and large.
 
Seventy percent of Malawi's foreign exchange income comes from tobacco sales.
 
Banda also called on regional leaders to improve maternal health, noting that Malawi has made progress in this area, which is Millennium Development Goal Number five. Statistics show that Malawi has reduced its maternal death rate by more than half in the past three years.
 
Some in the audience thought the SADC leader focused too much on agriculture in her speech.
 
"It’s a missed opportunity because most people expected her to talk about issues of climate change," said Gift Manyozo, a social commentator from Zambia. "You cannot talk about agriculture these days without mentioning how you are going to avert climate change. There are quite a number of issues — like tourism, mining as one of the booming industries — so she was supposed to at least make a clear mention of these ones knowing fully that it’s no longer agriculture which drives the economies in the SADC region."
 
Malawi’s Minister of Mining, John Bande, disagreed, saying his government prioritizes issues affecting the mining industry.
 
“I think on the point of mining, we will capitalize on what the current president as an SADC chair has taken," he said. "For instance, she is talking about the regional integration and what we think is that what we have can be sold in other countries as far as mining is concerned. For example, we have very good coal that stretches from Moatiz in Mozambique into Malawi, coal being a major component in smelting and powering of manufacturing plants."
 
By the end of the two-day SADC heads of state session, leaders are expected to endorse the Southern African Development Community's master plan for infrastructure development.

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid