His Excellency Lt. General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President of the Republic of Botswana and the Chairperson of Southern Development Community (SADC), convened a special workshop on Food Security and Poverty Eradication on May 16, 2016 in Gaborone Botswana.
The workshop was aimed at coming up with intervention that will be deployed to tackle the persistent regional Food insecurity and Poverty which challenges are a major threat to the socio-economic growth and stability of the region. The workshop emanated after reports and climate data suggest that the SADC region was currently experiencing its worst drought since 1992 and this was expected to further increase food deficit.
In his keynote statement during the gathering, the Chairperson underscored that given the severity of the drought which is looming in the SADC region, it was equally important for policy makers and implementers, and independent bodies and representatives of the civil society to take stock of the situation.
President Khama mentioned that according to the SADC Regional Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis Synthesis Reports, 40% of all SADC citizens were currently living in abject poverty therefore for this reason Poverty Eradication has become the overarching objective for the SADC Regional integration agenda.
Also in attendance was the SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax.. In her welcome statement, Dr. Tax mentioned that according to the World Health Organisation statistics, poverty headcount of people living below the poverty line of $1.25 a day was at 43.6 percent in the region in 2012 and that the region has only realized a 2.6 per cent annual growth rate. Dr. Tax said that food security and poverty eradication measures and the growth of agriculture sector are also vulnerable to natural hazards such as droughts, cyclones and floods.
The one day workshop ended on high note and a number of issues and outcomes were drafted to aid Member States on drawing up interventions to mitigate these encounters.
The workshop was attended by a broad-range of stakeholders, including Ministers of SADC Member States, representatives of Financial Institutions, International cooperating Partners, Farmers Organizations, Private Sector, Civil Societies and Government officials.
The workshop outcomes are enclosed.