What are some of the benefits of the SADC e-Certificate of Origin?

  • The SADC e-Certificate of Origin is paperless making it environmental friendly
  • It supports the regional quest to enhance e-Commerce and automation hence addressing some of the communicable diseases such as COVID-19.
  • Eliminates Certificates of Origin related fraud since there is an immediate transmission of certified certificate of origin to designated third party recipients in a secure electronic environment
  • Saves times as there is no need to visit Customs offices for application and registration. These are done online
  • Reduces transaction cost
  • Reduces errors and duplicate entries
  • Provides direct accessibility of Customs Administration in importing country to the Certificate of Origin issued by the exporting authority
  • Allows for properly documented production and process that enables Customs to ascertain origin of goods easily
  • Ensures improved record management
  • Reduces Cross-border certificate verification time
  • Improves availability of accurate statistical data

What is the SADC e-Certificate of Origin?

The SADC e-Certificate of Origin is an electronically processed and issued by an issuing authority attesting that goods declared by an exporter conform to specific Rules of Origin as per the criteria provided in the SADC Protocol on Trade. Generally, the certificate of origin is a required document by importing country for the purpose of granting duty free and tax free, statistics and risk assessment.

With the SADC e-Certificate of Origin, issuance of certificates is done through a system, and the authorization process, which includes registration of exporters, stamps and signatures, is done in electronic format. The electronic system will allow manufacturers, producers and exporters to electronically register their products for preferential treatment and apply for certificates of origin whenever there is an export shipment. Furthermore, the system allows Customs officers to approve the system electronically.

What instruments are there to facilitate trade in the SADC Region?

SADC is guided by the Protocol on Trade and the provision of the SADC Free Trade Area (FTA) in facilitating trade. This is complemented by a number of Transport and Border Management rules and regulations in order to facilitate Free Movement of Goods to cover both large companies, SMEs and cross-border traders. A simplified trade regime is being worked on. These instruments are aimed at:

  • Elimination of Import Duties (Customs Duties/Tariffs) based on agreed tariff structures.
  • Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers as they emerge. A reporting system exist.
  • Improving and harmonisation of Customs procedures covering the following:

Border Management, Rules of Origins, Customs valuation, Transit documents, Technical Barriers to Trade, Sanitary and Phytosanitory Measures (SPS), Anti-Dumping Measures, and Safeguards measures.

How is SADC Secretariat mainstreaming gender in its operations?

SADC Secretariat created the Gender Unit in 1997 with the mandate to work with the national gender machineries to facilitate Member States to have appropriate working tools and instruments to promote gender mainstreaming and to build capacity of Member States as well as the Secretariat to mainstream gender into all national and regional policies, programmes and activities. The SADC Secretariat developed a Gender Mainstreaming Toolkit in 2009 to assist all sectors to identify gender issues and define mechanisms for integrating them into policies, plans, programmes and actions. The SADC Guidelines on Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) were developed in 2014 to facilitate the development of good public finance management practice that ensures national budgets are practically addressing gender equality priorities and commitments. The GRB Guidelines have been used to capacitate planning entities including the finance ministry and other ministries in SADC Member States. However, progress is still limited and there is need to continue capacity building efforts on gender mainstreaming at both regional and national levels. In 2019, the SADC Secretariat conducted an assessment of Gender Mainstreaming in the SADC Integration Agenda and the results of this assessment are informing the capacity gaps to be addressed. Following this assessment, the Regional Gender Mainstreaming Resource Toolkit of 2009 is under review to strengthen its use in building technical capacity on gender mainstreaming at regional and national levels, including the Secretariat.

How does SADC work with the Private Sector in its quest to achieve regional integration and development?

The private sector is a key player in SADC work. The SADC Business Council has been accepted as the organisation which can coordinate the work of the private sector as they relate with SADC public sector at regional level. At national level, the Treaty provides for each SADC Member States to consult with the private sector in planning and implementation of regional programme through National Committees. The rules of engagement with the private sector at regional level are being finalised.

What is the structure and functions of each Directorates at the Secretariat?

1.  Directorate of Policy, Planning and Resources Mobilisation (PPRM): This Directorate reports to the Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration and it is responsible for Policy Analysis, Planning and Programming, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Resource Mobilisation. 

2. Directorate of Industrial Development and Trade (IDT): This Directorate reports to the Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration and its mandate is to ensure that the SADC Region is self-sufficient in goods and services that can be traded within the region and with the world. The mandate encompasses the whole chain of activities beginning at product inception with Scientific Research and Development; to industrial value chain production and setting of the specification of the goods and services in standards and technical regulations; then finally to trade.

3. Directorate of Finance, Investment and Customs (FIC)): This Directorate reports to the Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration. It is mandated to facilitate trade and financial liberalisation; and to create an enabling environment for investment, all contributing to deeper regional economic integration, growth and poverty eradication.

4. Directorate of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs (OPDSA): This Directorate reports to the Executive Secretary. The Directorate of the Organ covers areas of Politics and Diplomacy, Defence, State Security, Public Security and Police. It coordinates the implementation of SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security – an institutional framework for coordinating policies and activities on politics, defence, and security to promote peace and security in the region.

5. Directorate of Infrastructure: This Directorate reports to the Deputy Executive Secretary-Regional Integration and the mandate of the Directorate is to achieve efficient, seamless, integrated and cost-effective cross-boundary infrastructure networks and services that will enable economic development, regional integration and poverty alleviation. The Directorate focuses specifically on the development and quality of strategic infrastructure in the Southern African region, recognizing that regional infrastructure development creates a larger market and greater economic opportunities. It covers the sectors of Energy, Transport, Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), Water and Meteorology.

6. Directorate of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR): This Directorate reports to the Deputy Executive Secretary-Regional Integration and supports initiatives to improve food availability, access, safety and nutritional value; disaster preparedness for food security; equitable and sustainable use of the environment and natural resources; and strengthening institutional frameworks and capacity building. The FANR Directorate covers areas of Natural Resources and Wildlife, Environment and Climate Change, Tourism, and Food Security and Agriculture. The FANR Directorate also includes  the Plant Genetic Resource Centre, a centre of excellence based in Lusaka Zambia which  works in coordination with plant genetics centres in each of the SADC Member States to conserve and preserve the genetic diversity and viability of Southern African plant stocks.

7. Directorate of Social and Human Development (SHD): This Directorate reports to the Deputy Executive Secretary-Regional Integration and is mandated to ensure the availability of educated, skilled, healthy, productive human resources required for promoting investment, efficiency and competitiveness of the region in the global economy, as well as improving the quality of lives of the region's population. The Directorate covers, Health and Nutrition, HIV and AIDS, Employment, Labour and Youth; and Education and Skills Development.

8. Directorate of Internal Audit and Risk Management (IARM): This Directorate reports to the Executive Secretary and is mainly responsible for providing assurance on internal controls within the Secretariat. It has been structured to address two aspects of its mandate, on one side it is responsible for coordination of risk management for the entire Secretariat and on the other hand provides assurance on risks mitigation measures and internal control environment through internal audit function. 

9. Directorate of Finance: This Directorate reports to the Deputy Executive Secretary for Corporate Affairs and its overall mandate is to deliver an effective and efficient financial advisory service within the SADC secretariat which ensures the achievement of the SADC Secretariat’s financial objectives. The Directorate of Finance covers, Accounting Services, Grants/Contracts, and Treasury and Budgets.

10. Directorate of Human Resources and Administration (DHRA): This Directorate reports to the Deputy Executive Secretary for Corporate Affairs and is mandated to provide efficient and effective services in the areas of Human Resources, Administration, Records Management and Conference Services that support the SADC Secretariat’s fulfilment of its key mandate towards regional integration and socio-economic development.

In addition, the SADC Secretariat has the following stand-alone Units:

11. Gender Unit: reports to the Executive Secretary and its mandate is to facilitate, coordinate, monitor and evaluate the implementation of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, regional sectoral strategies, the RISDP as well as other regional, continental and global gender instruments that SADC Member States are party to.  is responsible for facilitating a well-coordinated regional strategy for effective gender mainstreaming, networking and exchange of good practices in efforts to achieve gender equality and women empowerment. The SADC Gender Unit spearheads mainstreaming gender in all regional initiatives to ensure that a gender perspective permeates the entire SADC Regional Integration Agenda.

12. Disaster Risk Reduction Unit

The mandate of the SADC Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Unit in the Secretariat of the SADC Regional DRR mechanism that coordinates disaster risk reduction activities and programmes within the SADC region. The Unit, among other things, coordinates the implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR (2015-2030), the Africa Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy and the SADC DRR Strategic Plan. The Unit monitors the regional and Member States Disaster Risk Management practices against the set regional, continental and global targets

13. Conference Services Unit 

The Conference Services Unit reports to the Directorate of Human Resources and Administration and it is responsible for providing support to SADC Policy and other meetings in terms of documentation, translation, interpretation services, conference facilities and scheduling of meetings.

14. Procurement Unit 

The Procurement Unit has the overall responsibility of coordination and implementation of the procurement and call for proposal processes of the SADC Secretariat. Procurement Unit’s strategic objective is to support the operations of the Secretariat through timely acquisition of goods, services and works while ensuring; Economy and effectiveness, Best value for money, fairness, integrity and transparency through competition, and Accountability and ethical standards among stakeholders.

15. The Legal Unit 

The Legal Unit reports directly to the Executive Secretary and it is responsible for guiding SADC in the application and interpretation of SADC legal regimes including the SADC Treaty, SADC Protocols and legal instruments and the application and interpretation of international law.

16. Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Unit 

The ICT Unit reports to the Deputy Executive Secretary-Corporate Affairs. It guides the adoption of Information and Communications Technologies within SADC and support the implementation of the technological aspects of the revised RISDP.

17. Communication and Public Relations Unit (CPRU)

The Communications and Public Relations Unit reports directly to the Executive Secretary and its mandate is to provide Strategic Corporate Communication and awareness of SADC programmes and Public Relations services, thereby, enabling the free flow and exchange of information within the SADC Region and beyond.

What are some of the key annual or regular events that SADC holds?

SADC has a number of events that are held annually, in addition to the Summit of Heads of State and Government and policy meetings.

Annual SADC Industrialisation Week: This event precedes the Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government. The event serves as platform for governments in the region to engage the private sector on critical steps needed to leverage higher levels of investment in manufacturing as well as fostering new opportunities for intra-African trade.

Why does SADC commemorates Southern Africa Liberation Day: SADC commemorates 23rd March as the day that marked the end to one of the fiercest conventional battles at Cuito Cuanavale in southern Angola, where the mighty armed forces of the apartheid regime of South Africa were defeated, consequently leading to the liberation of both Namibia and South Africa, and the entire Southern Africa.  As part of Preserving the History and Institutional Memory of the Region,  SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government meeting held in Windhoek, Namibia in August 2018 endorsed the commemoration of Southern Africa Liberation Day on 23rd March, in honour of the men and women who sacrificed their lives for political liberation and freedom of the Region.

The SADC Day: the day is commemorated every year on 17th of August to commemorate the birth of SADC following the signing of the 17th August, 1992 SADC Declaration and Treaty by Heads of State and Government in Windhoek, Republic of Namibia. The day offers an opportunity for the SADC Member States to reflect on the progress made in the implementation of the SADC Regional Integration Agenda. On this day, the SADC Chairperson delivers a message to SADC citizens, through available channels in the Member States, highlighting the strides the region has made in fostering regional integration, cooperation and socio-economic development.

What are some of the SADC Trademarks (usage of SADC Names, logos)?

The name “Southern African DevelopmentCommunity”; the acronym “SADC”; and the SADC logo are registered and protected trademarks for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat. For guidance on the SADC Trademarks, name and logo, kindly read the SADC Corporate Identity Manual on https://www.sadc.int/media-centre/logos-corporate-identity/

What are the official SADC online platforms?

SADC official online platforms are the website, www.sadc.int, Twitter @SADC_News, Facebook@sadc.int; Instagram: sadc_secretariat, and YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/sadcwebmaster/playlists .

How can one access SADC strategic documents and Protocols?

SADC strategic documents and protocols can be accessed on https://www.sadc.int/documents-publications/ or the SADC library through the link https://alib.sadc.int/Main.aspx). The SADC library is always open from Monday to Friday from 9AM to 4.30PM. For more information on Library services contact the SADC Secretariat Librarian, Mr Liwakala Mudengi, email lmudengi@sadc.int or the Assistant Librarian Kitso Gosekwang email, kgosekwang@sadc.int .

Does SADC provide scholarships?

SADC does not provide scholarships, but facilitates dissemination of scholarship opportunities from Member States, its partners and other organisations. Is it advisable to regularly visit the SADC website, www.sadc.int , especially under ‘Opportunities’ menu (https://www.sadc.int/opportunities) to find scholarships, trainings, procurement, competitions and other available opportunities. [IM2] 

How can one participate in SADC procurements, tenders, what are the procedures?

Those interested in participating in SADC procurements and tenders can go to the organisation’s website www.sadc.int and follow the link: https://www.sadc.int/opportunities/procurement/

What are the roles of citizens, private sector, and the media in regional integration and development?

as radio, television, newspapers and magazines, as well as new media such as the internet and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram, is to promote and market SADC and its programmes to fellow citizens as well as the private sector and media outside the Region. National Media Committees also play a pivotal role in marketing the opportunities available in the Region. 

What is the mandate of the SADC Secretariat and what’s the difference between SADC and SADC Secretariat?

SADC is the regional body comprising 16 Member States whose objectives are to achieve economic development, peace and security, and growth, alleviate poverty, enhance the standard and quality of life of the peoples of Southern Africa, and support the socially disadvantaged through Regional Integration. The SADC Secretariat, on the other hand, is the principal executive institution of SADC. According to Article 14 of the SADC Treaty, the SADC Secretariat is the principal executive institution of SADC. Among other key functions, the Secretariat is specifically responsible for strategic planning and management of SADC programmes; implementation of the decisions of the Summit and Council; coordination and harmonisation of policies and strategies; management of special programmes and projects; monitoring and evaluation; resource mobilisation; and research. It has been in existence since 1981 and its structure has evolved over the years. 

The headquarters of SADC and its Secretariat are located in Gaborone, Botswana. The Secretariat reports to the Council of Ministers and is made up of 10 Directorates and eight stand-alone Units responsible for cross-cutting issues. It is headed by the Executive Secretary who is assisted by one or more Deputy Executive Secretaries as the Summit may decide from time to time. Currently the Executive Secretary is assisted by the Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration (DES-RI) and the Deputy Executive Secretary for Corporate Affairs (DES-CA).

Who constitutes SADC Council of Ministers?

The Council of Ministers oversees the functioning and development of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and ensures that policies are properly implemented. The Council consists of Ministers from each Member State, usually from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Economic Planning, or Finance. It meets twice a year in January or February and immediately prior to the Summit in August or September.