The Ambassador of United States of America (USA) to Botswana and designated Plenipotentiary Representative of the USA to Southern African Development Community (SADC), His Excellency, Craig L. Cloud, presented his letters of credence to the SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax in Gaborone, Botswana, on 3rd April 2019.
H. E. Ambassador Cloud thanked Dr. Tax for the meeting and conveyed his condolences to the Governments and peoples of Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, who were recently affected by tropical Cyclone Idai, leaving behind a trail of massive and wanton destruction and loss of lives. He informed H.E Dr. Tax, that his office has already extended aid to Mozambique and declared a state of disaster in Zimbabwe. His Excellency, Craig L. Cloud also explained that through the USAID Regional Office, bilateral relations with SADC Member States, will be aligned to SADC priorities, in an endeavor to deepen regional integration.
H.E. Dr. Tax congratulated Ambassador Cloud for the appointment and welcomed him to SADC. She explained that SADC Secretariat enjoys cordial working relations with the US Embassy, and looks forward to the continued good working relations with Ambassador Cloud.
The SADC Executive Secretary apprised the Ambassador of the two strategic documents guiding the direction of SADC, namely the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), focusing on economic integration and Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ (SIPO), which aims at maintenance of peace and security in the region, and encouraged the US Government to continue to support SADC in line with SADC priorities as outlined in these two strategic documents. H.E. Dr. Tax also explained that cooperation between SADC and International Cooperating Partners is based on principles of additionality and subsidiarity, whereby programmes need to add value to, or generate solutions to problems in regional integration, and activities are handled at levels at which they can be best handled.
Regarding SADC response to the devastating impacts of Cyclone Idai in the three affected countries, H.E. Dr. Tax stated that in addition to the immediate emergency relief support of USD 500 000 to the affected Member States (Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe), SADC has prepared a regional Humanitarian Appeal to be launched by the Chairperson of SADC on 11 April 2019, in Windhoek, Namibia. The appeal is based on, and consolidates the requirements, outlined in the National Appeals by the affected Member States, while taking into account the effects of the projected drought. She further indicated that plans were underway, to establish a SADC Disaster Response Fund to enable the region to effectively respond to natural and climate change related disasters such as the Cyclone Idai, drought, and diseases in the future.
The two Parties affirmed the existing SADC-US cordial working relations and committed to continue to work together for the development and integration of SADC region.