Ms. Angele Makombo N'tumba, the Acting Executive Secretary (ES) of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), received a courtesy call from Ms. Leïla Farah Mokadem, Director General of the African Development Bank (AfDB) for Southern Africa on 23rd October 2023 in Gaborone, Botswana.
The courtesy meeting served as an introductory session for the consultative mission on the Combined Mid-Term Review and Regional Portfolio Performance Review of the Regional Integration Strategy Paper for Southern Africa (RISP 2020-2026), scheduled from 23 - 27 October 2023. The RISP was approved in November 2022 and identifies infrastructure connectivity, market integration and industrialisation as key focal priorities that are operationalised the Bank’s High 5s themes on Regional Integration; Feed Africa; Light Up and Power Africa; Industrialise Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa.
Ms. N'tumba expressed gratitude to the AfDB for the continued support towards the implementation of the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP 2020-2030), as well as for its valuable assistance to SADC Member States through bilateral engagements. She acknowledged the significance of the upcoming consultation meetings, noting that they would serve as an excellent platform to facilitate technical engagements aimed at strengthening and deepening cooperation between SADC and the Bank.
She said that the operationalisation of the SADC Regional Development Fund is of paramount importance to SADC, given the increasing financial demands for regional integration. She also welcomed the initiative towards the development of strategic corridors, as a fundamental catalyst for regional integration.
Ms N’tumba apprised the Bank on the Prioritised RISDP 2020-2030 Projects as approved by Council in March 2023, and indicated that the Secretariat is working on developing bankable proposals of the identified priority projects. In this regard, she emphasised on the need to ensure that the review of the RISP also considers the re-prioritisation of the RISDP, including the need to refocus support towards hard infrastructure projects that will facilitate enhanced impact of regional integration.
Ms. Mokadem expressed AfDB’s commitment to collaborate with SADC and indicated that the mid-term review of the RISP will provide an opportunity to take stock on regional integration, which will then inform the programming of support in the remaining years of the RISP. She highlighted the priorities of the Bank which put great emphasis on food security, trade, energy, and domestic resource mobilisation.
Supporting the Acting-ES, Ms. Mokadem also noted that the Bank is collaborating with SADC on the implementation of ongoing projects such as sustainable financing, macroeconomic convergence, ocean governance and trade and transit facilitation. These include support towards the operationalisation of the SADC Regional Development Fund (RDF).
The Bank further informed the Secretariat of its continued work towards corridor development, which is undertaken in collaboration with other international cooperating partners. The initiative will consider the nexus between transport, energy and agriculture, as a means to maximise impact on regional integration, poverty alleviation and sustainable development.
Ms. Mokadem also apprised the Secretariat on the ongoing work on the Security-Indexed Investment Bond, an initiative that is aimed at mobilising financing for peace and security through capital markets. Other initiatives include the mobilisation of consensual financing to support socioeconomic development.
The consultative mission will undertake a review on the strategic relevance of the RISP to the regional priorities of SADC, take stock of progress on the implementation of the RISP and consolidate lessons for subsequent post-2026 regional strategy. The mission will be facilitated through technical consultations across sectors such as agriculture, trade, energy, water, transport, ICT, climate change and green growth, blue economy, disaster risk reduction, gender, finance, and investment.
Dr. Judith Kateera, the SADC Deputy Executive Secretary for Corporate Affairs, also graced the occasion alongside senior officials from both parties, who also contributed their technical expertise across various portfolios.