Ladies and Gentlemen of the media,
Thank you for your presence at this post-Council Media Briefing, where we will share with you the outcome of the meeting of the SADC Council of Ministers that took place here yesterday and today.
In our pre-Council briefing held on the 4th March 2015, we informed you that the council will receive progress report on the implementation of 2014/2015 plan and budget, progress on major priorities during 2014/15 and proposed priorities incorporated in plan and budget for 2015/16, and.
I am pleased to inform you that Council commended Member States for the timely remittance of their annual contributions to the Secretariat for the fiscal year 2014/15. During this sitting, Council approved the 2015/16 SADC Budget of US79, 398 million for the implementation of the SADC Operational Plans whose major Focus Areas are:
Council received an Interim Report on the SADC Regional Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap presented by the Ministerial Task Force on Regional Economic Integration highlighting the following:
- Industrialization, competitiveness and regional integration as three main pillars on which the strategy will be anchored and through which the region will be set to achieve the following strategic objectives:
- Diversifying and broadening the industrial and export base of the region, thereby increasing regional trade and employment;
- Reversing the decline in the share of manufacturing in GDP and employment;
- Accelerating the growth momentum and enhancing the comparative and competitive advantages of the economies of the region; and
- Achieving major socio-economic and technological transformation both at the Member State and regional level.
The Strategy will present concrete and innovative short, medium and long term actions for the attainment of the above objectives and will be aligned to the Continental Agenda 2063.
In view of the primary focus on industrialization at this current stage of development in SADC, the Industrialization Strategy will be key in finalizing the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan. Both processes are moving simultaneously and both the Revised RISDP 2015-2020 and the Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap will be presented for approval to the Extra-Ordinary Summit in April 2015.
Council further received reports on progress being made in the Draft Revised Regional Indicative Development Strategic Plan (RISDP) 2015-2020 which continues to be improved and will be finalised taking into account the SADC Regional Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap;
On Continental integration, Council noted the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 Framework that was adopted by the AU Summit in January 2015, and urged Member States to start working on the integration of Agenda 2063 into their national and regional development plans and the domestication thereof within their national policies, legal and institutional frameworks.
Council requested relevant SADC Policy Organs to meet before June 2015 to prepare for the launch of the Continental Free Trade Area negotiations. Council furthermore directed the Secretariat to prepare a work programme by April 2015 to input into the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) negotiations taking into account the need to simultaneously address the SADC FTA implementation related challenges and outstanding work under the Tripartite FTA.
Council also requested the Ministers responsible for Trade and Industry to prepare a common SADC position on industrialisation by April 2015 within the context of the launch of the CFTA negotiations, for presentation to the AU Summit.
Council noted that work is ongoing in the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite arrangement under the Market Integration Pillar, Industrial Development Pillar and Infrastructure Pillar, and that the three Secretariats are in the process of finalising the report for consideration by the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Summit later this year. The Tripartite Summit will, among other things, launch the Tripartite Free Trade Area and review progress made in implementing other pillars of the tripartite work programme.
Council noted that the SADC selection process identified Mr. Thomas Zondo Sakala for the SADC candidate for the elections of the President of the African Development Bank.
On the SADC – EU Cooperation, Council noted progress in the programming of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) to cover the period 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2020. The entire €116 million allocated as EU support to SADC under the 10th EDF has been committed and allocated to the following programmes and projects in two focal areas of Regional Economic Integration and Regional Political Cooperation:
(i) Regional Economic Integration Support (REIS)
(ii) Trade-related Facility (TrF)
(iii) Project Preparation and Development Facility (PPDF)
(iv) Regional Political Cooperation Programme (RPC)
(v) Institutional Capacity Development Programme (ICDP)
(vi) Technical Cooperation Facility (TCF)
Council directed the Secretariat to urgently convene a special meeting of Ministers responsible for disaster risk management and Ministers responsible for Finance to discuss the impact of the floods and droughts in the region, recognizing the impact of floods and drought in Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe in order to mobilise funds for humanitarian assistance and to develop regional disaster response and preparedness mechanism.
Council approved the SADC Corporate Identity Manual (CIM).
These, ladies and gentlemen of the Media, were the main outcomes of the meeting of the SADC Council of Ministers.