International, Politics

Tanzania cancels hosting of SADC Council of Ministers meeting over COVID-19


DAR ES SALAAM, March 10 -- Tanzanian authorities on Tuesday announced the cancellation of a meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of Ministers scheduled for March 16-17 as preparedness and response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
   Wilbert Ibuge, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, said the cancellation followed recommendations made on Monday by an extraordinary meeting of SADC ministers responsible for health.
   The SADC health ministers meeting in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam recommended a temporary suspension of SADC regional face-to-face meetings and encouraged the use of modern technology, including video-conferencing, Skype calls and webinars, until such time when the virus was contained.
   "Following the recommendations, the SADC Council of Ministers meeting will now be conducted through video conferencing on March 16 and March 18," Ibuge told a news conference in Dar es Salaam.
   He said the suspension of SADC regional face-to-face meetings was intended to protect delegates from being infected by the virus that spreads around the world.
   Ibuge said the meeting was scheduled to discuss various issues, including revision of implementation of SADC's theme for 2019/2020 which is "A Conducive Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, Increased Intra-regional Trade and Job creation."
   Other topics for discussion were the 2020-2030 SADC Development Agenda, preparations for the 40th SADC Anniversary, the state of SADC contributions by member states, SADC passports, the creation of SADC tourist corporation and financing of election observers in SADC member states, said the official.
   The SADC is a Botswana-based inter-governmental organization established in 1992 to further socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among 16 southern African countries.  Xinhua