The French Development Agency (Agence Française de Développement (AFD) Regional Director, Ms. Martha Stein-Sochas paid a courtesy call on the Acting SADC Executive Secretary, Ms Emilie A.Mushobekwa, on 19th April 2017. The objective of the meeting was to among other things, discuss areas of cooperation aimed at fostering deeper regional integration and catalysing the Region’s Socio-economic transformation and poverty reduction.
Ms. Stein-Sochas thanked the SADC Secretariat for its role in facilitating the implementation of regional integration programmes at both national and regional level. She emphasized the need for the two parties to strengthen current as well as identify new areas of collaboration. She noted the need for AFD to engage the Secretariat more in order to identify the entry points and areas for synergy. She pointed out that AFD is working with some SADC Member States in areas such as energy, environment and Agriculture.
The Acting SADC Executive Secretary welcomed Mrs Stein-Sochas and thanked the Government of France for the good bilateral relations that exist between the two institutions, and its support through the French Development Agency. Ms Mushobekwa highlighted that the thrust for SADC cooperation with ICPs is enshrined in the SADC revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development plan (RISDP 2015-2020) that has prioritised Industrial Development and Market Integration, Infrastructure in support of regional integration, Peace and security cooperation, and Special programmes of regional dimension. She underscored the importance of ICP support being aligned to these priorities.
The two Parties agreed to continue to work together in areas of mutual interest including energy, industrialisation and infrastructure development with a view to achieve socio-economic development, poverty eradication, and deeper SADC regional integration.
The Regional Director was accompanied by the Head of Regional Economic Development from the Embassy of France in Pretoria, Mr. William Roos and AFD Investment Officer, Mr. Ntumba Katabua.