Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (Sapsn) is geared to push Southern African Development Community (Sadc) heads of States and government to formulate and implement pro-poor regional integration policies.
Sapn representatives said this at a media briefing in Lilongwe yesterday ahead of the Sadc People’s summit which will see 45 external delegates arriving today to attend the meeting in the city.
Sapsn national taskforce chairperson of programmes Julius Ng’oma said the summit is crucial as it feeds into the Sadc agenda right away and influences policy direction.
He said: “Over the years, we have impacted on policy decisions of Sadc, for instance, on issues of environment and climate change that led to the establishment of a portfolio within Sadc Secretariat.
“We have advanced issues of trade and regional integration which is now becoming a reality, issues of energy which we have seen member States in the region trading among themselves through the Southern African Power Pool.”
Sapsn, a regional civil society organisations (CSOs) grouping, led by Malawian CSOs will hold a series of events during the Sadc Summit including presentation of a petition of key issues affecting citizens to heads of States.
Malawi is slated to host the Sadc Summit on 17 and 18 August where President Lazarus Chakwera will assume the chairmanship, but the People’s Summit will run from 17 to 27 August.
Sapsn Malawi focal person Mike Banda, of the Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn) which is coordinating the People’s Summit, said they expect 120 delegates to physically attend while over 200 others will participate virtually.
He said: “Our preparations are through and our budget is K50 million. Everything is almost in place now to host a successful the People’s Summit.”
Among other issues, the CSOs will tackle issues of Covid-19, industrialisation, cross border trade, agriculture, taxation regional integration initiatives, regional conflicts, governance and the economy.
The People’s Summit is the flagship regional gathering of trade unions, social movements, civil society organisations, community and faith-based organisations in the Sadc Region.
Dubbed the Festival of the Poor, People’s Summit will be held side by side with the Sadc Heads of State and Governments Summit.