The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of Ministers meeting convened on 26 March, 2018 at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), O R Tambo Building in Pretoria, South Africa.
During the two days, the Ministers will discuss issues of regional importance; consider a number of strategic documents and receive reports on the implementation of the priority areas of the revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan 2015-2020 (RISDP), and the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063. The main objective of the Council of Ministers meeting is to receive progress on the implementation of the 2017/18 Plan, and to consider the proposed Plan and Budget for 2018/19.
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation for the Republic of South Africa, Honourable Dr. Lindiwe Sisulu in her capacity as the new Chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers hosted the meeting. In welcoming [remarks] the Ministers and delegates, Dr. Sisulu acknowledged the new Ministers who attended Council for the first time. Dr. Sisulu reminded the meeting on the need to uphold the principles and values of SADC. The Minister added that the SADC Common Agenda was key in bringing the SADC family together and guiding the region in developing economic plans such as the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan, the Regional Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015 -2063, the Strategic Indicative Plan of the Organ and the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan.
Dr Sisulu said Industrialization was a core pre-requisite for SADC to harness prosperity in the region and this was to be achieved through a strong partnership with the private sector. “SADC Members should focus on the need to strengthen the region’s capabilities both inside and outside of government in order to advance regional industrialization, and identify priority value chains and take steps to attract the private sector into these specific sectors.” She said.
In her remarks, the SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax presented milestones achieved by the Secretariat during the year under review in the areas of regional integration, development of industry and regional value-chains as well as manufacturing. Dr Tax recognised the pivotal role of the private sector to the achievement of the region’s development objectives, and that the focus for the financial year 2018/19 was a priority more especially in progressing key areas such as Industrialisation and Market Integration, Infrastructure development to leverage industrialisation, and peace and security.
The Council of Ministers oversees the functioning and development of SADC, and ensures that policies and decisions are implemented. The Council consists of Ministers from each of the 16 Member States; usually from the Ministries responsible for Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Economic Planning or Finance, and meets twice a year.
The SADC Council of Ministers, was be preceded by the meeting of the SADC Standing Committee of Senior Officials on 22nd March 2018, and the meeting of the Finance Committee on 23rd March 2018.