By Business Reporter
SADC Executive Secretary, Stergomena Lawrence Tax, has cautioned that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional integration agenda will remain theory, unless member states start to implement concrete plans to move together as one region.
“We need to ensure that as a region we move with one voice, otherwise regional integration will remain theory,” Tax said this week ahead of the SADC summit taking place in Tshwane this coming weekend.
South Africa will take over from Swaziland as the chair of the regional body and the country will oversee the celebration of SADC’s 25 years of existence. Deliberations were kick-started by a meeting of ministers on Tuesday and Wednesday, who will prepare several reports for the Heads of State Summit taking place on Saturday and Sunday.
The Council of Ministers oversees the functioning and development of the SADC community, and ensures that policies are properly implemented. The council consists of ministers from each of the 15 member states, usually from the ministries of foreign affairs, economic planning or finance, and it meet stwice a year in February or March and immediately prior to the summit in August or September.
The Heads of State on Saturday are expected to endorse the theme for the 37th summit, which is ‘Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains’.
South Africa, as the incoming chair, proposed the theme, which will be presented to the summit for its approval and subsequent operationalisation.
South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said the council of ministers will receive progress on actions undertaken by the secretariat in implementing the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063.
“The council will also receive and review the proposed Milestones for Monitoring Implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap for approval by summit,” she said.
The council will also receive reports on the findings of the exercise on the profiling of the mineral and pharmaceutical sectors, and the identification of potential areas for the development of value chains. SADC has identified at least six value chain clusters in the fields of agro-processing, mineral beneficiation and related mining operations, pharmaceuticals, and other consumer goods, capital goods and services.
The council on Tuesday received progress reports on the operationalisation of the SADC University of Transformation, following the meeting of the Committee on Higher Education, Training and Research earlier this year.
At the time, the council observed that the concept of the SADC University of Transformation has the potential to address the provision of the appropriate skills required for value-addition, in the three agreed value chains of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap.
The council will receive and consider the Report of the SADC Executive Secretary for the period 2016-2017, which includes the overview of the political and economic developments in the region, and the implementation of programmes on regional cooperation and integration.
On continental integration, the council will receive progress reports on the implementation of the Tripartite Free Trade Area, the COMESA-EAC-SADC Agreement and the Continental Free Trade Area negotiations.
“The council will consider the Draft SADC Common Position on the negotiations of the Draft Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community, relating to the Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.
The summit on Saturday will also consider the application by the Union of Comoros and the Republic of Burundi for SADC membership.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015