The Executive Secretary of SADC Dr Tomaz Augusto Salomão says SADC needs a regional strategy to adequately use skills in the region. He said as a priority, skills should be used to improve knowledge, research and innovation. Dr Salomão commended Zimbabwe for the great job they have done in producing marketable graduates.
The Executive Secretary added that on another level, the region should continue to work in unity to address the food insecurity and the drought situation which has hit the region over an extended period of time. He linked the issue of food insecurity to HIV and AIDS, highlighting that it is not possible to prescribe anti-retroviral drugs without proper nutrition namely: varieties of beans and cereals, vegetables, animal protein, fruits etc.
Addressing the Cabinet Ministers, Dr Salomão underscored the need to improve the quality of lives of the people in the region citing infrastructure as the key to regional integration, intra-regional trade and to become more competitive internationally, in the framework of economic development and poverty reduction. Dr Salomão highlighted the strategic importance of the Walvis Bay, the TransKalahari, TransCaprivi ,TransCunene, Maputo, Beira, Nacala and Dar es Salaam, Chirundu-Harare-Beitbridge corridors and the Kazungula bridge in that regard.
On the upcoming Senatorial elections, he noted that preparations have already been finalized and that the SADC Electoral Observer Mission (SEOM) has already been deployed to the different parts of Zimbabwe.
Dr Salomão who assumed duty on 1 September, 2005 began his fact finding mission to Member States with Namibia as the current Chair of the Organ on Politics, Defense and Security, Madagascar, Swaziland, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo and now Zimbabwe to ascertain their expectations and to strengthen the dialogue between the Secretariat and the Member States in implementing the SADC Common Agenda. He is expected to visit all the SADC Member States.
During his visit to Zimbabwe, Dr Salomão held discussions with Honourable S.S. Mumbengegwi, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Honourable Herbet M. Murerwa, Minister of Finance and Economic Development; Honourable Joseph Made, the Minister of Agriculture; Honourable C. Mushowe, Minister of Transport and Communications; and other Cabinet Ministers and Permanent Secretaries of different portfolios.
He also met with members of the SADC National Committees; the Media, Southern African Research and Documentation Centre; SADC Drought Monitoring Centre; and Diplomats of the SADC region.