The Secretariat of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany on 11 June 2021 held bilateral negotiations on development cooperation to take stock and agree on the priorities for future development cooperation.
SADC and Federal Republic of Germany agreed priority areas to include: Regional Economic Integration; Transboundary Water Management; Transboundary Natural Resource Management and Resilience to Climate Change; Disaster Risk Management; and Strengthening National-Regional Linkages (SNRL), and support towards the Study and Expert Fund that will support emerging strategic matters. The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany committed an additional support of 20 million Euro for both technical and financial cooperation. The agreed areas of cooperation are aligned and respond to SADC priorities outlined in the SADC’s Vision 2050 and the RISDP 2020-2030, and are geared towards achieving SADC’s main objective of promoting sustainable economic growth, socio-economic development, and poverty eradication.
The Executive Secretary of SADC, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, who led the SADC delegation to the bilateral negotiations, thanked Germany for displaying marks of true friendship during the unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic through the COVID-19 Response Support extended by Germany and the European Union to SADC, particularly the support on medical and essential supplies, and support to enhancing regional capacity to manufacture medical supplies and drugs.
H.E. Dr Tax said the cordial and long-standing bilateral partnership for development that exists between SADC and Germany has contributed to the attainment of SADC development and integration objectives and appealed to the Government of Germany to continue supporting SADC efforts through priorities outlined in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030 and the SADC Vision 2050 in order to achieve the desired developmental impact to enhance the living standards of SADC citizens.
While noting the importance of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as building blocks to continental integration, H.E. Dr Tax encouraged the Government of Germany and other partners to continue working with, and through the RECs to push the continental integration agenda forward. On this note, H.E. Dr Tax emphasised the need to ensure that the support towards the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) should go together with the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), as the TFTA is an important pillar to the implementation of the AfCFTA.
The Personal Representative of the German Chancellor for Africa and Deputy Director General at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), H.E. Mr. Günter Nooke, highlighted that drawing from Germany’s experience and the benefits derived from the European integration process, Germany shares with SADC a common belief and understanding of the importance of regional integration. On this note, H.E. Mr Nooke reiterated that, in the years ahead, Germany will remain SADC’s reliable partner for regional integration and development and that Africa will remain a focal point of German development cooperation.
H.E. Mr Nooke noted that Africa is increasingly becoming an important investment market with a potential for significant economic growth post COVID-19, and reiterated the call by the SADC Executive Secretary for the enhancement of capacity, both at regional and national levels in research and manufacturing of vaccines and other medical and pharmaceutical supplies.
He expressed appreciation to H.E. Dr Tax, whose tenure of office as the SADC Executive Secretary comes to an end later this year, for her leadership in facilitating SADC-Germany Development Cooperation during the period she has been heading the Secretariat. He cited H.E. Dr Tax’s hosting of the Germany President, H.E. Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier, at the SADC Secretariat in November 2018 as one of the highlights in strengthening the existing SADC-Germany Development Cooperation during her tenure as SADC Executive Secretary.
The SADC Executive Secretary was accompanied by the Deputy Executive Secretary, Regional Integration, Dr Thembinkosi Mhlongo, the Deputy Executive Secretary, Corporate Affairs, Ambassador Joseph Nourrice, and Directors and Officials from the SADC Secretariat. The Germany delegation consisted of Head of Delegation and Head of the Division for Southern Africa at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Mr. Alois Schneider, and Senior Officials from the Germany development cooperation agencies. Also in attendance as an observer was H.E. Ambassador Jan Sadek, Head of the European Union Delegation to Botswana and to SADC.
Bilateral negotiations between SADC and Germany are held every two years. The last one was held in November 2019 in Gaborone, Botswana, and the next round of bilateral negotiations will be held in 2023.