• Home
  • Media Centre
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Frequently Asked Questions

    a) What is SADC?

    The Southern African Development Community is political and economic institution that provides a framework for regional integration in the region.

    b) How was SADC formed?

    The Southern African Development Community (SADC) started as Frontline States whose objective was political liberation of Southern Africa. SADC was preceded by the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC), which was formed in Lusaka, Zambia on April 01, 1980 with the adoption of the Lusaka Declaration (Southern Africa: Towards Economic Liberation). 

The formation of SADCC was the culmination of a long process of consultations by the leaders of the then only seven (7) majority ruled countries of Southern Africa, thus Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia, working together as Frontline States. In May 1979 consultations were held between Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers responsible for Economic Development in Gaborone, Botswana. Subsequently a meeting was held in Arusha, Tanzania in July 1979 which led to the establishment of SADCC on April 01, 1980 in Lusaka, Zambia.

    On August 17, 1992, at their Summit held in Windhoek, Namibia, the SADC Heads of State and Government signed the SADC Treaty and Declaration that effectively transformed the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) into the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The objective also shifted to include economic integration following the independence of the rest of the Southern African countries.

    c) Who are SADC Member states? 

    SADC has a membership of 16 Member States, namely; Angola, Botswana, ComorosDemocratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    d) How does SADC implement its plans?

    SADC operations are centralised at the SADC Secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana since the  2001 restructuring process that has done away with the Member State – based Sector Coordinating Units (SCUs) that were coordinating the 21 Sectors of regional integration.

    It provides operational facilitators support as the executive arm of the SADC organisational structure consists of Eight (8) directorates, namely, the Directorate of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation; the Directorate of Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment, Directorate of Infrastructure and Services; Directorate of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Directorate of Social and Human Development and Special Programmes; Directorate of Policy, Planning and Resource Mobilisation; Directorate of Budget and Finance; and Directorate of Human Resources and Administration.

    There are also five (5) stand-alone units responsible for cross-cutting issues, namely, Internal Audit, Information and Communications Technologies, Gender and Development, Legal Affairs and Public Relations  established by the Council of Ministers as provided for by Article 15 (4 & 5) of the SADC Treaty.

    e) Who are the key SADC Executive?

    The current Executive Secretary is Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax. Her Deputy Executive Secretary: Regional Integration is Dr. Thembinkosi Mhlongo while the Deputy Executive Secretary: Finance & Administration is Ms. Emilie Ayaza Mushobekwa

    f) How many inhabitants live in the region?

    The SADC region has a population of almost 258 million (257, 726,000) that generates GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of 471,1 US$ billion.

    g) What is SADC’s vision?

    SADC's vision is that of a common future within a regional community that will ensure economic well-being, improvement of the standards of living and quality of life, freedom and social justice and peace and security for the people of Southern Africa. This shared vision is anchored on the common values and principles and the historical and cultural affinities that exist between the people of Southern Africa.

    h) What is the SADC mission?

    The SADC Mission is to promote sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development through efficient productive systems, deeper co-operation and integration, good governance, and durable peace and security, so that the region emerges as a competitive and effective player in international relations and the world economy.

    i) How does SADC plan to tackle poverty?

    The Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and the Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ (SIPO) remain the frameworks for SADC Regional integration that provide SADC Member States with a consistent and comprehensive programme of long-term economic and social policies, and at the same time, it provides the SADC Secretariat and other SADC Institutions insights of SADC approved economic and social policies and priorities.

    The RISDP reaffirms the commitment of SADC Member States to good political, economic and corporate governance entrenched in a culture of democracy, full participation by civil society, transparency and respect for the rule of law.

    j) What is the Summit?

    The annual Summit of the Heads of State is SADC’s highest decision-making body. It adopts decisions regarding SADC; determined the organizational structurel elects the rotating SADC chairperson each year and appoints the executive secretary. It makes these decisions by following the consensus principle. Leadership is overseen through Troika: the current chairperson is supported by their predecessor and successor. The Summit is convened annual – usually in August - but can also be summoned more frequently in urgent cases. 

    k) What is the Council of Ministers?

    The Council of Ministers is the second highest level of authority and the highest functional level in SADC. It consists of one national minister from each member state. The Council of Ministers advises the Summit and always meets before the Summit takes place. The Council of Ministers oversees the work of SADC five directorates.

    l) What is the SADC Treaty?

    The SADC Treaty is the main framework for regional integration in the region. Adopted in Windhoek in 1992, its principles include democracy, human rights, peace and national sovereignty, its objectives focused on developmental goals, poverty reduction and collective self-reliance amongst others.

    The Treaty was amended in 2001 at an extraordinary summit in Windhoek to include changes to the SADC structure and introduce the principle of a Troika leadership. The review also included the adoption of the Common Agenda and the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP).

    The SADC Treaty allows for sanctions against states which fail to implement the policies and decisions agreed by SADC, and also against states which apply policies undermining the decisions taken by SADC. Sanctions are determined by the Summit.

    m) What is a protocol?

    A protocol is a legal instrument of implementation of the SADC Treaty and provides a framework for action. SADC has a range of sectoral protocols that provide implementation strategies – moving the region from mere cooperation to tangible regional integration with defined timeframes. 

    It requires a 75% consensus among member states present at a Summit to change or amend a protocol. Protocols enter into force upon ratification by two-thirds of the signatory states. Countries ratify a protocol through an act of Parliament.

    n) What SADC institutions provide support for peace?

    The Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation plays a vanguard role as part of the institutional mechanisms for promoting and maintaining peace and stability in the region and the SIPO provides the institutional framework for the daily implementation of the Organ’s Objectives. 

The SIPO, alongside the SADC Mutual Defence Pact of 2004 guides the implementation of the Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. The SIPO is divided into four main sectors of Political; Defence; State Security; and Public Security. 

    o) What are the main institutions of the SADC?

    SADC comprises eight (8) institutions, namely, the Summit of Heads of State & Government, SADC Tribunal, Council of Ministers, Organ on Politics, Defence & Security Cooperation, Sectoral/Cluster Ministerial Committees, SADC Secretariat, Standing Committee of Officials, and SADC National Committees.

With its chairpersonship held on a rotational basis, SADC applies the Troika system from Summit, the Organ, Council and the Ministerial Committee of the Organ (MCO) as well as the Officials level. 

The SADC Troika System vests authority in the incumbent Chairperson, Incoming Chairperson who is the Deputy Chairperson at the time and the immediate Previous Chairperson to take quick decisions on behalf of SADC that would ordinarily be taken at policy meetings scheduled at intervals stipulated by the Articles 10, 11 and 13 of the Treaty. This also applies to the Troika of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and when combined, the two are referred to as the Double Troika.