Dar es Salaam — President John Magufuli will once again not attend the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) summit slated for August 30 and 31 in Mbabane, Swaziland where he was to accept the rotating chairmanship.
His attendance in the Sadc 36th summit which had been previously confirmed, as announced by the minister for Foreign Affairs Augustine Mahiga early this month, had been highly anticipated, according to reports from Mbabane.
He was to be introduced to his Sadc counterparts and deliver a speech at the summit as well as give a detailed overview of his vision for regional integration and development.
Instead President Magufuli sent Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan to represent him. Ms Hassan, who arrived in Mbabane on Sunday was accompanied by Amb Mahiga, together with Charles Mwijage minister for Industries, Trade and Investments and Zanzibar Trade minister Amina Salum Ali.
The theme for the 36th Sadc Summit is "Resource Mobilisation for Investment in Sustainable Energy Infrastructure for an Inclusive Sadc Industrialisation for the Prosperity of the Region."
This is the second Sadc summit that President Magufulil is skipping. At the June summit in Gabarone President Magufuli was represented by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa.
The draft summit agenda for this week's summit shows that Dr Magufuli was to be the only new president to be welcomed by the 36th Sadc summit. At the last summit, a total of three presidents - Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique, Hage Geingob of Namibia and Edgar Lungu of Zambia - delivered maiden speeches.
The theme of the summit continues the industrialisation trajectory of the last two summits hosted by Zimbabwe in 2014 and Botswana in 2015, which focused on economic transformation and sustainable development through beneficiation and value addition, and on transforming natural resources and human capital to boost sustainable development respectively.
This year's theme focuses on how the region could mobilise resources to improve energy infrastructure development. (Additional reporting by sadc.net)
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