Malawi President Joyce Banda has hailed Sadc leaders for standing by her and Malawi when the country lost president Bingu wa Mutharika as well as during the difficult times the country went through.
Banda made the remarks on Friday at the 32nd ordinary summit of Sadc heads of State and government in Maputo, Mozambique.
The speech was her maiden address in front of Sadc leaders.
â€œI assumed the presidency of the Republic of Malawi when the country was experiencing acute socio-economic challenges, evidenced by foreign exchange shortages, fuel shortages, energy crisis, just to mention a few.
â€œWhen I got into office, it became very clear to me that the task before me was enormous. But with the support from the region, I am convinced that we can overcome these challenges,â€ said Banda.
She also touched on conflict, saying Malawi strongly believes that peace and tranquillity are the prerequisite for sustainable economic growth.
Banda said she hopes the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security will stamp out the pockets of instability that remain in the region.
She also called for early implementation of the Sadc Regional Infrastructure Master Plan covering areas such as transport, water, energy, meteorology and telecommunication.
Banda said the plan is a catalyst for socio-economic development as well as regional and continental integration.
The President also congratulated Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on her election as chairperson of the African Union Commission. She expressed admiration at Dlamini-Zuma being the first female to become chairperson of the African Union Commission.
â€œSadc must remain united and speak with one voice in our quest to advance the Sadc Agenda. Our solidarity should continue to grow from strength to strength,â€ she said.