Ms Vera Soongwe, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa

The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Ms. Vera Songwe addressed the 38th SADC heads of states summit today in Windhoek, Namibia.

Speaking on the theme of the summit, “Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development”, she highlighted the need for countries to look within for resources to finance infrastructural development; including improving tax performance and tackling the flow of illicit financial flows.

She also urged governments to address the prohibitive cost of protecting intellectual property on the continent, which will help promote innovations especially among the youth.

“The 4th industrial revolution can be a powerful gender equalizing took in Africa, I plead with our leaders to protect intellectual property rights of its youth and of its girls in particular, she said.

Present at the Summit were representatives from all SADC states and the Chairperson of the African Union, among others.

According to the organizers, this year’s theme builds on the focus of the past four SADC Summits that sought to advance industrial development. Key to the discussions is the need for an integrated infrastructure network as an important enabler of industrialization and market integration.

The Summit will also review the implementation of the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063. The SADC industrialization strategy, adopted in April 2015, seeks to achieve major economic and technological transformation at national and regional levels to accelerate economic growth through industrial development.