The Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) of the SADC-EU Political Dialogue was held in Brussels, Belgium, on 8 November, 2016, to discuss and take stock of the progress made on specific issues such as, among others, climate change, peace and security, and future economic partnership and cooperation, in preparation for the Ministerial Dialogue which will take place in 2017.
The meeting noted that, at the Ministerial Dialogue that took place in October 2015 in Luxembourg, the parties had agreed to convene thematic meeting points on mutually agreed areas. The first SADC-EU thematic dialogue workshop was on Peace, Security and Stability, held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on 20 and 21 October 2016, which discussed common threats to peace and stability and identified implementable initiatives in such areas such as migration and mobility, terrorism and cross border crime, democratisation, elections and conflict prevention. The second thematic dialogue was on the future Economic Partnership and Cooperation which took place in Brussels, Belgium, on 7 November 2016, and discussed deepening regional economic integration, value chains, support to SMEs, and SADC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The meeting noted that these two thematic dialogue meetings concurred on the need to reinforce SADC-EU sector policy dialogues, through a dedicated SADC-based Dialogue Facility programmes.
The meeting provided a platform for SADC and EU to update each other on respective political and economic situations, such as the Brexit and migration in the EU region, as well as on SADC efforts on conflict prevention, management and resolution in the SADC region, guided by the Strategic Indicative Plan of the Organ (SIPO II).
SADC also updated the EU on the Region’s efforts in implementing the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (Revised RISDP 2015-2020), focusing on the priority areas of Industrial Development and Market Integration; infrastructure in support of regional integration; peace and security cooperation; and special programmes of regional dimension. The meeting noted that in implementing the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063) to achieve structural transformation, create jobs and promote growth, the region is focusing on developing regional value chains on pharmaceutical, agro processing, and mineral sector, while recognising the importance of wider market access offered by the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) and Continental Tripartite Free Trade (CFTA) in catalysing Industrialisation, as well as the importance of developing infrastructure to support industrialisation.
The Parties agreed to continue to work together in implementing the priority programmes outlined in the Revised RISDP (2015-2020), the SIPO, the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063), the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan (RIDMP), and the Regional Agricultural Policy (RAP) and Regional Agricultural Investment Plan (RAIP).
The meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Bertram Stewart, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Economic Planning and Development of the Kingdom of Swaziland, and by Mr. Koen Vervaeke, the European External Action Service Managing Director for Africa. The meeting was attended by the Senior Officials of the SADC Double Troika Member States, namely Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, and Tanzania, as well as by Dr. Thembinkosi Mhlongo, the SADC Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration and officials from the EU Headquarters, the SADC Secretariat and from the EU Delegation to Botswana and to SADC.