The French Ambassador to Botswana & Special Representative of France to SADC, Her Excellency, Mrs Laurence Beau, paid a courtesy call to the SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency, Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax to present herletters of credence to SADC on 4th November 2019, at the SADC Secretariat Headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana.
Ambassador Beau thanked the SADC Executive Secretary for the warm welcome to SADC and highlighted that new role will amongst others, offer her the opportunity to advance regional and continental integration. She expressed her government’s commitment to support the SADC development agenda and assured SADC of her commitment to work with SADC in areas of mutual interest, and in particular in water and energy, climate change, environment, and food security where France has strong expertise. The Ambassador also enquired on the position of SADC on the role of the SADC Force Intervention Brigade in the DRC in line with the review of the mandate of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
Her Excellency Dr. Tax welcomed and congratulated Ambassador Beau on her appointment as Ambassador to Botswana and Special Representative of France to SADC. She noted SADC and France have enjoyed years of cordial relations and looked forward to the continued cooperation. She thanked the Republic of France for its support to SADC both at the regional level and through bilateral cooperation with SADC Members, as well as, through France’s contribution to the European Union. She highlighted that the areas of interest to France are in line with SADC priorities and as such, there was more scope for working together.
Dr. Tax informed Ambassador Beau that SADC has prioritised Industrial Development and Market Integration as a means to foster the region’s economic transformation supported by Infrastructure in support of regional integration, Peace and Security Cooperation, and Special Programmes of regional dimension. She further informed the Ambassador that SADC is in the process of reviewing its two blueprint documents guiding the strategic direction of SADC, namely the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP 2015 - 2020), that focuses on economic integration and Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ (SIPO), which guides the maintenance of peace and security in the region.
On peace and security in the DRC, Dr. Tax informed the Ambassador that the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), and SADC Force Intervention Brigade remained critical for sustained peace and security in the DRC and the SADC region as a whole, and that SADC was committed to ensuring the maintenance of the peace and political stability in the DRC.
The Parties agreed to convene thematic groups meetings in order to discuss and come up with concrete proposals in the areas of mutual interest.
The Executive Secretary was accompanied by Cdr Fillipus Nghilondwa, representing the Director of the Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation, while the Ambassador was accompanied by Ms Sandrine Maury, Deputy Head of Mission.