The Southern African Development Community (SADC) on 5 July, 2023 launched the SADC Success Stories publication for the Kingdom of Lesotho which contains stories on the programmes and benefits derived from the implementation of the SADC Regional Integration agenda.
Presiding over the launch, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning of the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho, Honourable Dr. Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane highlighted that the Government of Lesotho recognizes that Information dissemination forms the foundation of good governance and accountability.
Hon. Dr. Matlanyane added that the Lesotho SADC Success Stories will assist in building SADC visibility, which in turn, will engender collaboration and partnership in the implementation of the SADC regional integration agenda.
The Minister encouraged members of the media fraternity in Lesotho to continue reporting stories on SADC regional integration, drawing from examples of the stories contained in the Lesotho SADC Success Stories. On this point, the Minister took the opportunity to sensitise and encourage journalists in Lesotho to participate in the SADC Media Awards by focusing on positive stories that promote and deepen SADC regional integration and development.
In his introductory remarks on behalf of the SADC Executive Secretary, the Acting Director for Industrial Development and Trade at the SADC Secretariat, Mr. Calicious Tutalife, said the launch of the SADC Success Stories marks another milestone in SADC’s quest to strengthen the regional and national linkages and achieve the goal of "Taking SADC to the People".
“SADC belongs to the people and it is through initiatives such as SADC Success Stories that we will be able to create awareness among the SADC citizens about the positive impacts of the SADC Regional Integration,” he said.
Mr. Tutalife highlighted that the success stories provide a platform for knowledge exchange and peer learning within the SADC region, thereby strengthening the collective capacity of the SADC region to deal with challenges and accelerate progress towards the shared aspirations of a peaceful and prosperous region.
In his speech, Dr. Axel Bayer, the Representative of the German Ambassador to South Africa, Eswatini and Lesotho hailed the launch as a testament to the incredible strides made by Lesotho in various sectors, ranging from agriculture, infrastructure, water, trade, labour and beyond.
“These stories summarize the innovative approaches, dedication, and resilience of the Basotho people and the transformative policies implemented by the Government. They showcase the positive impact of regional cooperation and highlight Lesotho's exceptional achievements within the SADC community,” he said.
Among other stories, the publication highlights the implementation of improved efficiency due to fast-track declaration of goods and travel, and better traffic control following the implementation of a coordinated border management project, among others. It also highlights the implementation of Cross Border Money Transfer Project between Lesotho and South Africa which has been hailed as one of the cheapest cross-border products in the world. On shared watercourses, the publication highlights the implementation of initiatives to preserve Lesotho’s most valuable resource, water, referred to as Lesotho’s ‘white Gold’.
The development of the Lesotho SADC Success Stories publication was supported by the GIZ Strengthening National-Regional Linkages Programme (SNRL) programme, a capacity building programme funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The launch was attended by, among others, Honourable Lejone Mpotjoane, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations of Lesotho, the GIZ Country Director to Botswana and SADC, Mr. Daniel Bagwitz, Senior Government officials and representatives from SADC Member States.
The launch of the SADC Success Stories was preceded by a two-day Symposium which was held from 3-4 July 2023 under the theme, “Strengthening Capacities of SADC National Committees for Effective Coordination and Communication in SADC’. The symposium brought together delegates from SADC National Committees (SNCs), National Contact Points (NCPs), National Media Coordinators (NMCs) and various Non-State Actors to exchange ideas with the objective of fostering collaboration and gather diverse perspectives to enhance knowledge of the SADC regional integration architecture.
A copy of the Lesotho SADC Success Stories Publication can be accessed from this link: https://tinyurl.com/dfxj8aah