SADC Executive Secretary, Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax received letters of credence from H.E. Mr. Jan Sadek, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Delegation of the European Union to Botswana at the SADC Secretariat Head Office in Gaborone, Botswana on the 1st of November 2018. During the meeting the two Parties also discussed issues of mutual relations and cooperation between the two institutions.
Ambassador Sadek said that he was pleased to be given the opportunity to work with SADC to carry forward and deepen the existing close relations, which exist between SADC and the European Union. He underscored the role of his mission, which entails the advancement of international diplomacy and strengthening relations as well as development of livelihoods of the citizens, by reaching out to the SADC constituents. The Ambassador emphasized the need to improve communication, visibility and awareness of flagship activities supported through the partnership, stating that it is important to showcase the results of the engagement. The Ambassador also underscored the commitment of the European Union to integrate the two continents through the trade agreement such as the SADC-Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and SADC Member States, which guarantees free access to EU markets, as well as the new Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs, which strengthens partnerships and creation of up to 10 million jobs in Africa in the next 5 years alone.
Dr. Tax congratulated Ambassador Sadek for his appointment, welcomed him to SADC and accepted the letters of credence. She stated that the SADU-EU cooperation is a mutually beneficial relationship that has stood the test of time and continues to achieve milestones and goals as envisaged. Dr. Tax said that she was glad that the two parties were on the verge of signing the two PAGoDAs on Capacity Building, and on Peace and Security. She mentioned that SADC and EU have been working together to address common threats to peace and security in the two regions, and have in this regard held a number of SADC-EU Political Dialogues in this thematic area, which have been beneficial.
The Executive Secretary assured the Ambassador of the commitment by SADC Member States to continue working together in order to achieve socio economic growth and development. She explained that through the SADC Free Trade Area complimented by the Tripartite Free Trade Agreement between COMESA-EAC-SADC, the region has opened up trade and investment opportunities through an integrated and expanded market, through amongst others, the harmonisation of policies and programmes across the three Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in the areas of trade, customs and infrastructure and industrial development.
The parties agreed to step up efforts to improve visibility and demonstrate to their constituents the value for money and impacts of their cooperation and activities towards improving livelihoods and socio-economic development of the SADC region.