Give the youth space - Geingob

18 August 2020 | International

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK



President Hage Geingob has warned against social instability, should Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders continue to socially exclude the region's youth, who are hungry for empowerment.

Addressing the 40th Virtual SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government, Geingob said the region boasts an active young population, where two-thirds of citizens are below the age of 35.

“This active portion of our populations needs to be nurtured to realise its full potential. If we fail to do so, we risk social exclusion and the radicalisation of our youth, placing in jeopardy the positive gains we have made as a region,” he said.

According to Geingob, SADC countries have put in place robust and reliable governance architectures, which are characterised by sound systems, processes and institutions.



Covid-19 transforms

Geingob added that governments have made unprecedented sacrifices to allay the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, such as the closure of borders, lockdowns, curfews and school closures.

Geingob said social distancing has exposed the importance of people-centred development programmes. “Individuals, non-government organisations, churches, and the private sector all rallied together to assist the poor, the homeless, including those without access to clean drinking water,” Geingob said.

He added that the tremendous support of the private sector during these trying times has further highlighted the need for SADC to put in place more effective mechanisms for engaging the private sector. The summit received a report on the socio-economic impacts of Covid-19 on SADC economies, pinpointing its effects across sectors.

The summit also approved proposed measures that are to address the sectoral effects.

The SADC executive secretary, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, said member states have put in place rigorous response measures to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to her, these measures have gone a long way in containing the spread of the pandemic, and protecting the livelihoods of SADC citizens.

“Sadly, however, we are now witnessing a surge, especially in local transmissions and an increase in casualties in some of our member states. This calls for SADC to remain united and vigilant in the fight against this pandemic,” she said.

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