Namibia or the “land of the brave” as it is affectionately called by Namibian citizens. When I first heard that Namibia will be chairing the SADC 2018, I thought “the land of the brave has done it!” Namibia has made its mark the SADC countries. Being Namibian-born, I send my congratulations to the Republic of Namibia and especially to the Honourable President Hage Geingob who was appointed as chairperson of SADC.

With Namibia leading the theme for the year, Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development, creates a significant opportunity for the youth of all SADC countries. This is the moment for courage: to knock on doors, to learn and to embrace new challenges.  Namibia leading this important charge for the year, should push the youth forward towards something far greater.

In order for this to happen, youth must identify opportunities and use available resources, venturing into new technological processes, industrialisation and production by collaboration with other SADC countries. They need to take education seriously, be innovative and think seriously about entrepreneurship and the skills needed to venture in that direction.

We need to continue to remind our leaders to open their doors and facilitate skills development, mentorship, promoting entrepreneurship infrastructure development and youth empowerment for a sustainable future. Young people must participate and be proactive, asking “What can I do for my country? What can I do for my community? What can I do for my neighbour?”

I would encourage the Namibian Government, as well as other SADC countries to promote “Ubuntu” and to show compassion and understanding for citizens from the neighbouring SADC countries and to create awareness, embracing our cultural diversities and ethnicities – while acknowledging our common goals of socio-economic development and greater trade and investment in the entire region and across our continent. Our leaders have to build an Africa for the future, an Africa that can stand united to defeat the scourge of poverty and related challenges. .

Africa is the richest continent given our mineral resources and our youthful population with enormous potential – yet poverty is a daily reality. Let us start in the region to work towards the eradication of poverty and let SADC lead the way for Africa!

Photo credit: GovernmentZA on Visual HuntCC BY-ND