There are mixed reactions towards the 41st Ordinary Summit of Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Heads of State and Government the country is hosting.
In random interviews on the streets of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu cities, some said they have never heard of Sadc while others said the summit, which started yesterday in Lilongwe, is a great opportunity for the countries to promote peace.
Blantyre-based motorcycle taxi operator Elias Biliati said he has never heard of Sadc.
“This is my first time to hear about the summit or the group [Sadc]. I have no expectations from whatever they will discuss as I do not have any knowledge about it,” he said.
But Maggie Simulani, a businessperson plying along the Masauko Chipembere Highway in Blantyre, said she heard about the Sadc summit on radio and through a text message on her mobile phone.
She said she expects Malawi to benefit economically from the summit since hundreds of people will share knowledge.
Ellen Dezi, a nursing student in Blantyre, hopes countries will come up with conflict resolution measures to ensure member States resolve outstanding conflicts.
Lilongwe-based Andrew Kamwabi said the Sadc summit offers an opportunity for southern African countries to deliberate, engage and discuss matters of interest in all spheres from sustainable development, economics, health, youth rights to policies.
“Countries within the block must address issues that have a bearing within the region. We have seen how Sadc has helped and engaged in fighting insurgents in Mozambique,” he said.
Chimwemwe Moyo, who works at Ekwendeni in Mzimba District and Confidence Mhango, who lives in Karonga, said they were not aware of Sadc.
“I have heard it in passing that there is a big meeting taking place in Lilongwe, but I have no idea what it is all about,” said Moyo.
Malawi is hosting the Sadc summit from August 9 to 18 in Lilongwe under the theme Bolstering Productive Capacities in the Face of Covid-19 Pandemic for Sustainable Economic Transformation.
During the summit, Chakwera will assume chairmanship of the 16-member bloc for 12 months.