The Ambassador of Austria to the Republic of South Africa and Southern African Development Community (SADC), His Excellency Dr. Johann Brieger presented his Letters of Credence to the SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency, Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax on 22nd August 2018, in Gaborone, Botswana.
In her welcome remarks, H.E. Dr. Tax congratulated the Ambassador on his appointment as Ambassador for the Republic of Austria to South Africa and to SADC. The Executive Secretary informed the Ambassador of the SADC priorities in the areas of industrialization to be supported by infrastructure development, peace and security and regional programmes of regional dimension as enablers of industrialisation.
On this note, H.E. Dr Tax reiterated the SADC Secretariat's eagerness for enhanced cooperation with the Austrian Government to promote regional integration, particularly in the areas of renewable energy and water infrastructure development and gender mainstreaming, highlighting that energy was critical for industrial development.
Ambassador Dr. Brieger thanked the SADC Executive Secretary for the warm welcome to the SADC Secretariat, and expressed the Austrian Government's commitment to work closely with SADC Secretariat and Member States to contribute positively to the SADC Regional Integration Agenda. The Ambassador pledged continued support to the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) to be hosted by the Republic of Namibia, and said that he looked forward to the signing of the SACREE Memorandum of Understanding by Member States. The Ambassador also said that Austria had set aside an additional €3.0million to support Gender mainstreaming and the energy sector, which is yet to be negotiated.
Ambassador Dr. Brieger further pointed out that, currently Austria has also set aside €84,000 to support the evaluation of the impact of the SADC Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan (RIDMP), adopted by SADC Heads of State and Government at their 32nd SADC Ordinary Summit held in August 2012 in Maputo, Mozambique. The Master Plan is in line with the Programme for Infrastructure Development of Africa (PIDA), a continental initiative of the African Union Commission (AUC), that is a partnership programme with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), African Development Bank (AfDB) and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA).
The two parties agreed to continue working collaborating on energy, while exploring other areas of cooperation to enhance SADC regional integration and development.