The Ambassador of the Netherlands to Pretoria and SADC, H.E. Han Peters presented his letters of credence to SADC Executive Secretary Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax on 13 September 2019 at the SADC Secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana.
Ambassador Peters thanked Dr. Tax for affording him the opportunity to present his letter of credence. He expressed the desire of the Government of the Netherlands to collaborate with SADC in various areas of mutual interest. He commended SADC for the progress made in various areas and highlighted the importance of efficiently and effectively communicating the recorded progress as the best tool for advocacy and information dissemination of historical progress made towards regional integration.
The SADC Executive Secretary congratulated and welcomed the Netherlands Ambassador to the family of the Embassies accredited to SADC. Dr. Tax informed the Ambassador that SADC is guided by two main strategic documents namely the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and Strategic Indicative Plan of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation (SIPO) which are both coming to the end of their implementation period in 2020. However, SADC was already developing successor programmes and a regional vision beyond 2020.
She further highlighted that Industrialization remains the main focus for SADC, supported by infrastructure development, peace and security and programmes of regional integration importance. Dr. Tax welcomed the proposal for collaboration with the Netherlands saying that SADC would learn from the experiences and advances made by the Netherlands in industrialization and related areas. She also informed the Ambassador that SADC has various thematic forums including Water, Agriculture, Science and Technology and Youth and infrastructure among others, where SADC shares information with development partners, and invited the Netherlands to join some of these thematic areas.
In terms of Peace and Security, the SADC Executive Secretary stated that SADC has developed a number of strategies including those against Extremism and Terrorism, Trafficking of persons and prevention proliferation of small arms, and control of illegal trade in illicit drugs among others, and that collaborates with Interpol and other regional and international agencies with expertise in the various areas. She highlighted the need to continuously review these Strategies to take on board emerging issues.
The Netherlands Ambassador was accompanied by Mr, Ruud Jansen, the Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Botswana and Dr. Showers Mawowa, Senior Policy Officer at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands in South Africa.