Covid-19 Overshadows Malawi’s SADC Chairmanship
International relations expert Chimwemwe Tsitsi says Malawi did not fully benefit from its tenure as chair of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) because Covid 19 prevented members countries from exploring the opportunities the country provides for the region following the restrictions on travel.
His observation comes as President Lazarus Chakwera is expected to attend the 42nd Ordinary Summit of SADC in the Democratic Republic of Congo DRC on 17 and 18 August. Chakwera left today for the summit.
Tsitsi, nonetheless, says through the position of SADC chairmanship, Malawi has been recognized as one of the key players in the region which gave it an opportunity to advertise what it has to offer to the region.
He said if it were not for Covid-19, the benefits would have been more.
“Malawi became recognized as one of the key players in the region and at the same time people that may not have known Malawi were likely to know Malawi and become interested and explore how they can establish some relations with Malawi,” he said.
“Malawi has not fully benefited because we held the position during the period of Covid-19 and we had some travel restrictions in many countries. Even though the restrictions were lifted in many countries, the investors that might have come to know about Malawi would not be very eager to explore the investment opportunities in Malawi.”
Spokesperson in the ministry of foreign affairs John Kabaghe said: “During that summit, President Chakwera is expected to hand over the SADC chairmanship to the president of the DRC and he is also expected to hold bilateral meetings with fellow SADC heads of state.”
On 17 August last year, President Lazarus Chakwera took over as SADC Chairperson from Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi.
SADC is an intergovernmental organization headquartered in Gaborone, Botswana, comprising 16 states whose leaders rotate annually on the chairmanship.