The prosperity of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region is largely dependent upon sustained peace, stability and security as these form the foundation for sustainable development, SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, has said
H.E. Dr Tax said this in a virtual lecture titled, Evolution of SADC: From SADCC to SADC, Historical Context, Achievements, Challenges and Future Outlook, which she delivered on 16 March, 2021 to the Ninth Course 2020/2021 at the National Defence College (NDC), a strategic learning and principal training institution of the Ministry of Defence and National Service of the United Republic of Tanzania. Senior officials from the NDC and 40 participants from Bangladesh, Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia attended the course.
The lecture presented the historical context from the Front Line States, and detailed events leading to the formation of the Southern African Development Coordinating Conference in 1980, which was transformed to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in 1992. The lecture came barely a week before SADC commemorations for this year’s Southern Africa Liberation Day on 23 March which is closely linked to the history, objectives and achievements of SADC.
During the lecture, Dr Tax highlighted progress made and achievements recorded by the Organisation over the years in politics, peace and security, industrialisation, cross border trade and market integration, infrastructure development, financial integration and inclusion, social and human capital development, as well as cross-costing issues such gender, youth, environment and climate change, and disaster risk management.
H.E. Dr Tax highlighted that the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-30 and the SADC Vision 2050, which outline strategic interventions to address the emerging challenges and strategically position the region and shape the future of SADC, are anchored on a firm foundation of peace, security and good governance. The SADC Vision 2050 envisions a peaceful, inclusive, middle to high income industrialised region where all citizens enjoy sustainable economic well-being, justice and freedom.
H.E. Dr Tax further pointed out that with progress made, some challenges that undermine prosperity of the region remain and continue to emerge and these include poverty, unemployment, and inequalities; increased number of youth with limited income generating opportunities; impact of climate change, and extreme weather; inappropriate and unregulated usage of social media; increased transnational organised crimes; violent extremism and acts of terrorism; and ever-changing geo-politics and political alliances. On this note, she urged course members to apply the skills acquired through their training and studies to find lasting solutions to the challenges facing the region today.
Commandant of the NDC, Major-General Ibrahim Mhona, expressed gratitude to the SADC Executive Secretary for the insightful presentation which he said helped the course members to have a better understanding of the history, objectives, achievements and challenges of SADC in the context of peace and security in the region and continent.
Maj-Gen Mhona said he was hopeful that the lecture will generate the interest of the course members to find practical solutions to the challenges that affect the region during and after the training.
During the lecture, course participants took turns to congratulate SADC for the numerous achievements that the organisation has made since its inception.
The NDC was established in 2011 and was inaugurated in 2012. It aims to equip defence and government policy makers with requisite economic, political, military, scientific, international relations and national organisational knowledge necessary for understanding of national security in its internal and external dynamics.