The 35th Summit of the Heads of State and Governments was held in Gaborone, Botswana on the 17-18 August 2015 after a very successful year for SADC. Since the last Summit, held in Victoria Fall, Republic of Zimbabwe, on the 16-17 August 2014, SADC has witnessed a number of key milestones that will go a long way in deepening the integration process. Within this period, SADC concluded the long awaited Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan 2015 to 2020 (RISDP). The RISDP was endorsed by the Summit in its Extraordinary meeting held in Harare, Republic of Zimbabwe, in April 2015. The Approval of the Revised RISDP marked a beginning of new impetus in the development agenda for SADC. It identifies four priority areas to be pursued by SADC in the next five years. These priories are highlighted in this Brochure.
The second major achievement attained within the year is the approval by the Summit of the Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015 to 2063 in April 2015. The 34th SADC Summit while considering the Draft Revised RISDP 2015-2020 directed that Priority A, on Industrialization and Market Integration be reviewed so as to ensure that, at the current stage of integration, industrialisation is prioritized. Following this strategic directive, the multi-stakeholder task force on the review of the RISDP worked tirelessly to complete the review process. Likewise Member States through the Ministerial Task Force on Regional Integration, supported by the Secretariat, worked round the clock and finalised the Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap, a historic milestone that is expected to transform and enable SADC to accelerate and deepen regional integration.
SADC also witnessed the launching of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) involving SADC, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC). The TFTA is another big milestone that will see an expanded market for Member States to trade and increase investment flows.
Other significant achievements within the past year, include the initialling of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and the SADC EPA Group. The Text is currently undergoing legal scrubbing which will later lead into the signing, ratification and implementation of the Agreement. Significant progress was also witnessed in the implementation of the SADC Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan (RIDMP). The Project Preparation Development Fund (PPDF) was operationalised during the year with two projects being approved for grant financing. This is significant progress as SADC now has its own project preparatory facility mechanism. The enhanced capacity will accelerate project preparation and should facilitate faster implementation of the RIDMP through an increased preparation of bankable projects.
Achievements were also recorded in other SADC priority sectors such as payment and settlement systems, power, information, communication and telecommunication, agriculture, water and publication. The integration of the national payment and settlement systems into the regional system through SADC integrated Regional Electronic Settlement System (SIRESS), an electronic payment system for goods and services, was concluded during the year. This will reduced clearance of transactions time from three days or more to within 24 hours. SADC also witnessed commissioning of new power generation projects adding some two thousand mega-watts to the Southern African Power Pool grid. Likewise, the finalisation of the Hashim Mbita publication, which documents the SADC countries' history and the liberation struggles was published and copies distributed to all Heads of State and Government during the Summit.
Lastly, a number of key policy documents were concluded and approved within the year. These include: the SADC Draft Declaration on Youth Development and Empowerment; the Draft Charter Establishing the SADC Aviation Safety Organization (SASO); the SADC Asset Disposal Policy; the Occupational Safety, Health and Environmental Policy; the revised draft SADC Human Resources and Administration Rules and Procedures Manual; the SADC Compensation Policy and the Amendments to the SADC Procurement Policy for SADC to remain compliant with the contribution agreement requirements and the Policy to remain in line with International best practice.
The 35th SADC Summit Brochure not only highlights some of the above stated successes and achievements but also provide a snapshot of SADC as it stands now. Readers are invited to take a few moments to read the Brochure in order to familiarise themselves with the SADC Mission and Vision, Current SADC Leaders profiles, Overview of the SADC Revised RISDP 2015-2020 and the Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063, The Launch of the Tripartite Free Trade Area, SADC as part of the AU Agenda and AU Year of Women Empowerment, SADC History, Focus of the Host Nation, SADC Directorates and Units and many other exciting SADC events and programs.