The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has adopted numerous programmes to advance regional integration and generate wealth and prosperity for the people of Southern Africa since its inception in 1992, SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, has said.
In the Preface to the publication, 40 Years of SADC: Enhancing Regional Cooperation and Integration, Dr Tax said Industrialisation, Trade and Market Integration, Infrastructure Development, Food Security, Social and Human Development, Peace and Security have driven the SADC Programme of Action.
The publication brings to light the history of SADC and key achievements that the Region has made since 1980. It was launched in Maputo, Mozambique, on 23rd June 2021 during the Extraordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government.
Published by the SADC Secretariat in conjunction with the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC), 40 Years of SADC: Enhancing Regional Cooperation and Integration highlights the major milestones and achievements as well as the challenges encountered by the regional bloc over the past 40 years.
The Southern African Region has grown and transformed over the past 40 years, and the people of the Region have grown and transformed with it. It has moved from being a modest organisation known as the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) established in April 1980, made up of nine independent founding Member States of Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that was established in 1992.
It has expanded to become one of the main building blocks of the proposed African Economic Community, under the African Union. SADC now comprises 16 of the continent’s rapidly growing economies – Angola, Botswana, Union of the Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The main objectives of SADC are to achieve development, peace and security, and economic growth, to alleviate poverty, enhance the standard and quality of life of the peoples of Southern Africa, and support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration, built on democratic principles and equitable and sustainable development.
H.E Dr Tax said a total of 33 regional protocols covering various areas of cooperation have been signed since the transformation of SADC from a Coordination Conference to a Community in 1992. Following the signing of the SADC Declaration and Treaty in 1992, the Region has shown commitment to deeper integration through strategic plans such as the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan 2010- 2020; Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation 2010-2020; SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063; SADC Regional Agricultural Policy 2015; and SADC Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan 2012.
“The Treaty establishing SADC, and these Protocols, Policies and Strategies have laid a strong legal and institutional foundation for promoting regional cooperation. SADC’s Common Agenda is driven by well-established institutions that are provided for in the SADC Treaty, comprising of the Summit, the Organ on Politics Defence and Security Cooperation, Council of Ministers, Sectoral and Cluster Ministerial Committees, Standing Committee of Officials, and the SADC Secretariat,” said H.E Dr Tax.
“Through these institutions, SADC Member States have championed the SADC regional integration agenda for the common purpose and benefits of the people of the Region.”
40 Years of SADC: Enhancing Regional Cooperation and Integration seeks to document the achievements made by SADC since 1980, while also celebrating the contributions made by the various leaders and officials who have led the regional family of nations.
H.E Dr Tax expressed hope that the publication will instill among the people of the SADC Region a greater zeal to carry forward the torch that was lit by the Founders -- President José Eduardo dos Santos of Angola; President Sir Seretse Khama of Botswana; Right Hon. Prince Mabandla Dlamini, Prime Minister of Eswatini; Hon. Mooki Vitus Molapo, Minister of Trade and Tourism of Lesotho; Hon. Dick Matenje, representative of President Hastings Kamuzu Banda of Malawi; President Samora Moises Machel of Mozambique; President Julius Kambarage Nyerere of the United Republic of Tanzania, President Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda of Zambia; and Prime Minister-designate Robert Gabriel Mugabe of Zimbabwe – when they met at the Mulungushi Conference Centre in Lusaka, Zambia on that historic morning of 1 April 1980.
“It is our hope that this will encourage more action and collective conversations for effective implementation of the SADC regional integration agenda for the benefit of our citizens and prosperity of our individual economies, as well as the regional economy, as we move forward in the fast-changing and sometimes complex environment that we operate in. The lessons learnt and best practices gleaned should inspire us all towards meeting the dreams and ideals of SADC’s Founders and the expectations of the Youth of today,” said H.E Dr Tax.