Swaziland, which has just assumed its role as the chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), has committed itself to establish a SADC University of Transformation. The institution is mooted to have its first student intake before the next 37th SADC Heads of State Summit in 2017.
“The Kingdom of Eswatini wishes to dedicate the establishment of a SADC University of Transformation which will be the next milestone in our journey which started in 1980,” said new SADC chairperson Swaziland’s King Mswati III during his acceptance speech at the 36th SADC Heads of State and Government Summit in Lozitha, Swaziland this week.
“This initiative will give new hope and opportunity to our youth and our women,” Mswati III said at the summit that was also attended by Namibian President Hage Geingob.
The proposed SADC University of Transformation would have 300 students in the initial intake. Each of the 15 SADC member states, including Namibia, would have 20 young people as students at the mooted institution that “would deliver in educational and training terms, using the technical vocational educational training model of delivery.”
Mswati III said the Kingdom of Swaziland is “asking for support for this imaginative initiative from all my fellow heads of state.”
Mswati III also asked fellow heads of state to “show commitment to our objectives by contributing to a fund that would serve as start-up capital for our programmes and projects in the various sectors.”
The proposed fund could also be used as collateral when SADC member states approach external sources for money to fund infrastructure in the region.
Mswati III promised that during his tenure as SADC chairperson he would focus his energy on raising funds which he hopes will not only come from member states but also from international partners.
“Lack of resources has stalled the full attainment of the sustainable development goals,” he said.
The theme for this year’ summit, “Resource Mobilisation for Investment in Sustainable Energy Infrastructure for an Inclusive SADC Industrialisation for the Prosperity of the Region,” is derived out of the desire to see the numerous initiatives launched by SADC over the years become a reality.
“We have to speak in one voice for resource mobilisation. SADC represents a unified force, so we hope we can strengthen our capabilities and speak as one family,” said Mswati III.
“There should be no room for failure as our success will have a positive impact on our region and create a better future for our people,” he said.
He reminded his fellow presidents that they should all aim to develop the region into one that offers the world a conducive investment climate that is ready to host any investor.
There is also a need, Mswati III believes, for SADC to attract industries in research, education and training, tourism and finance among others, which can provide the much needed job creation, especially for youth.
It is his opinion that investment in energy will contribute towards increasing productive capabilities for a sustainable and inclusive industrialization.
On innovation and creativity he said: “Africans were not born to be poor. We are highly capable of becoming innovative and creating a first world status for our nations. We must however discard the tendency of failing to support one another.”
Mswati III went on to speak of the crippling drought which is plaguing the region, saying that SADC has a huge challenge to address the effects of drought by improving the bloc’s weather forecasting systems.