The Council of Ministers of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), on 12 March, 2021, held a virtual meeting to discuss policies, strategies and programmes geared towards consolidating SADC regional integration in fulfilment of Council’s mandate as spelt out in Article 11 of the SADC Treaty.
Honourable Verónica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Mozambique, chaired the meeting in her capacity as the Chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers and underscored the timeliness and importance of the issues discussed by the SADC Council of Ministers in relation to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; disaster risk management and response, industrialisation, promotion of free trade at regional and continental levels and the Annual Corporate Plan and Budget of the SADC Secretariat to deliver the outcomes of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030 and the SADC Vision 2050.
Hon. Dlhovo called for timely and efficient implementation of the decisions taken by the Council of Ministers for the SADC region to continue to be a peaceful, prosperous and relevant player in international relations.
The Chairperson of Council said, as a commitment towards disaster management and response, she welcomed the trust bestowed upon the Republic of Mozambique to host the SADC Humanitarian and Emergency Operations Centre (SHOC), which will be responsible for facilitating enhanced regional disaster risks preparedness, response and early recovery to support Member States affected by disasters.
The Executive Secretary of SADC, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, indicated a number of achievements recorded in the SADC’s drive towards deepening regional integration. H. E. Dr Tax said a total of 1,995,355 transactions were settled through the SADC Real Time Gross Settlement System as of December 2020, representing the value of ZAR 7.81 trillion since July 2013 when the system went live.
On regional infrastructure development, H.E. Dr Tax highlighted that a total of 63 regional Infrastructure projects, including 17 regional energy projects were developed under the second Priority Action Plan for Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA PAP 2), the African Union continental strategic infrastructure framework, whereby three of the 17 projects were shortlisted, namely Luapula Hydro-power between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia; Baynes Hydro-power between Namibia and Angola; and ZIZABONA transmission interconnector between Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In a bid to accelerate regional industrialisation and infrastructure development, H.E. Dr Tax called for speedy implementation of the SADC Regional Development Fund; enhancement of capacities and capabilities of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for SADC citizens to realise employment and wealth creation benefits
H.E. Dr Tax called for speedy finalisation of the SADC Digital Economy Strategy in order to realise the targeted long-term industrialization objectives, and added that digitisation of regional economies is a necessity, given the advent of 4th Industrial Revolution and the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Acknowledging the important role of the Private Sector in driving industrialisation, H.E. Dr Tax urged the Private Sector to take advantage of the profiled regional value chains in priority areas such as mineral beneficiation, pharmaceuticals and agro-processing, which will benefit the investors, SADC citizens and the entire region.
The SADC Executive Secretary informed Council that 17 companies from the region have been earmarked to manufacture COVID-19 medical and other pharmaceutical products under the initiative supported by the European Union and German development agency, GIZ, which is aimed at enhancing the capacities in research and manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, essential medicines and medical supplies.
HIGHLIGHTS AND OUTCOMES OF THE SADC COUNCIL OF MINISTERS MEETING
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