Southern African Student Union (SASU) Statement on the 38th SADC SUMMIT hosted in Windhoek, Namibia.
17th August 2018
The Southern African Student Union (SASU) which is a regional student formation representing a majority of student formations in the region welcomes the meeting of the Heads of States in Namibia for the 38th SADC summit, which is to be held under the theme ”Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development.”
The summit sits exactly five days following the celebration of the international youth day, we are encouraged by the theme which is focused on youth empowerment, as a pillar of regional sustainable development, we allude to this owing to the Sustainable Development Goals program which is geared towards ending hunger, reducing unemployment and inequalities amongst nations and within nations.
The SADC region remains one of the regions that has a youthful population, which presents both opportunity and challenges. Opportunities for the youth remains the necessary tool for every nations growth and development, however, the challenges confronted by the youth include, but are not limited to, education, skills and productive growth, this given the frustrations of a smuggling economic growth and development in the region, it goes without doubt that challenges of underdevelopment, unemployment, and poverty and social ills affect the youth the most.
Its for these that we call for the sitting summit not to play lip service to the affairs of the youth, rather to to come with a clear program on the SADC youth agenda, and it is for this reason that we shall continue to lobby our individual countries to carry the youth agenda forward, young people remain the future, and they can never be any regional agenda without the youth.
We will continue to call for the free movement of academics and students within the region, we refuse to only promote free movement of goods and labour, whilst ignoring other important mobility questions in respect to scholars and students across the region. The review of SADC protocol on education has became more urgent the before. It is one of the key expectations we have from the Chairpersonship of the President of Namibia, His Excellency President Hage Geingob.
In line with objective (g) of the SADC protocol on education which states “..to work towards the relaxation and eventual elimination of immigration formalities in order to facilitate freer movement of students and staff within the Region for the specific purpose of study, teaching, research ad any other pursuits relating to education and training”. and objective (f) which states “to work towards the reduction and eventual elimination of constraints to better and freer access, by citizens of member states, to good quality education and training opportunities with the Region” read inline with Article 7.1, which deals with Co-Operation in Higher Education and Training, demands of us to move with speed in ensuring the implementation of the protocol by all member states.
We equally call for a more clear and sound view on article 5, 5.3 on Co-operation in Basic and Secondary Education, that it be clear on universal access to basic education, that is free, just, of good quality and compulsory until secondary education, as the current wording does not provide such clarity, access to quality education meaning proper and conducive infrastructure, sanitation, tuning water and electricity , and sufficient and qualified educators in classrooms.
The Implementation of the SADC Strategy and Business Plan on Youth Empowerment and Participation for Sustainable Development (2015-2020), which emphasises the implementation of development-oriented interventions related to employment creation, socio-economic and political governance, can not be implemented without the participation and ongoing engagements of the younth, we thus call for the establishment of a permanent youth forum to be constituted by various youth ministries, youth agencies and youth from both civic movements and youth in business, for they can never be a youth agenda without youth drivers!
We further call for peace and stability in the region, for an environment of war and instability affects the youth and women much more negatively. The instability in Lesotho, Zimbwabwe following the elections and the Democratic Republic of Congo must be attended to and a lasting solution found.
A united and stable region is a prerequisite regional growth and development.
Issued by SASU Regional Executive Committee
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