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    12 Mar, 2021

    SADC holds Council of Ministers Virtual Meeting

    The Council of Ministers of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), on 12 March, 2021, held a virtual meeting to discuss policies, strategies and programmes geared towards consolidating SADC regional integration in fulfilment of Council’s mandate as spelt out in Article 11 of the SADC Treaty.

    Honourable Verónica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Mozambique, chaired the meeting in her capacity as the Chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers and underscored the timeliness and importance of the issues discussed by the SADC Council of Ministers in relation to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; disaster risk management and response, industrialisation, promotion of free trade at regional and continental levels and the Annual Corporate Plan and Budget of the SADC Secretariat to deliver the outcomes of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030 and the SADC Vision 2050.

    Hon. Dlhovo called for timely and efficient implementation of the decisions taken by the Council of Ministers for the SADC region to continue to be a peaceful, prosperous and relevant player in international relations.

    The Chairperson of Council said, as a commitment towards disaster management and response, she welcomed the trust bestowed upon the Republic of Mozambique to host the SADC Humanitarian and Emergency Operations Centre (SHOC), which will be responsible for facilitating enhanced regional disaster risks preparedness, response and early recovery to support Member States affected by disasters.

    The Executive Secretary of SADC, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, indicated a number of achievements recorded in the SADC’s drive towards deepening regional integration. H. E. Dr Tax said a total of 1,995,355 transactions were settled through the SADC Real Time Gross Settlement System as of December 2020, representing the value of ZAR 7.81 trillion since July 2013 when the system went live.

    On regional infrastructure development, H.E. Dr Tax highlighted that a total of 63 regional Infrastructure projects, including 17 regional energy projects were developed under the second Priority Action Plan for Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA PAP 2), the African Union continental strategic infrastructure framework, whereby three of the 17 projects were shortlisted, namely Luapula Hydro-power between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia; Baynes Hydro-power between Namibia and Angola; and ZIZABONA transmission interconnector between Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    In a bid to accelerate regional industrialisation and infrastructure development, H.E. Dr Tax called for speedy implementation of the SADC Regional Development Fund; enhancement of capacities and capabilities of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for SADC citizens to realise employment and wealth creation benefits

    H.E. Dr Tax called for speedy finalisation of the SADC Digital Economy Strategy in order to realise the targeted long-term industrialization objectives, and added that digitisation of regional economies is a necessity, given the advent of 4th Industrial Revolution and the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Acknowledging the important role of the Private Sector in driving industrialisation, H.E. Dr Tax urged the Private Sector to take advantage of the profiled regional value chains in priority areas such as mineral beneficiation, pharmaceuticals and agro-processing, which will benefit the investors, SADC citizens and the entire region.

    The SADC Executive Secretary informed Council that 17 companies from the region have been earmarked to manufacture COVID-19 medical and other pharmaceutical products under the initiative supported by the European Union and German development agency, GIZ, which is aimed at enhancing the capacities in research and manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, essential medicines and medical supplies.

    HIGHLIGHTS AND OUTCOMES OF THE SADC COUNCIL OF MINISTERS MEETING

    • During the meeting, Council approved the SADC Secretariat’s Annual Corporate Plan and Budget for the 2020/2021 Financial Year to deliver the outcomes based on the priorities of the RISDP 2020-2030 and SADC Vision 2050.
    • Council directed the Expanded Technical Committee for Coordinating and Monitoring the Implementation of the SADC Protocol on Health to continue monitoring the COVID-19 situation and provide timely advice, and to analyse the current COVID-19 situation in the African context and provide home-grown solutions. On a related matter, Council approved the proposal by Mozambique to hold the face to face meeting of the SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government in May or June 2021 to consider its detailed agenda, if the COVID-19 situation is contained.
    • Following the adoption of the guidelines on the Harmonisation and Facilitation of Cross Border Transport Operations Across the SADC Region During COVID-19 Pandemic, Council urged Member States to comply with the Guidelines, especially with respect to mutual recognition by Member States of COVID-19 test results and validity period of 0-14 days as stipulated in the Guidelines.
    • Council endorsed the offer made by the Republic of Mozambique to host the SADC Humanitarian and Emergency Operations Centre (SHOC) which will be responsible for facilitating enhanced regional disaster risks preparedness, response and early recovery to support Member States affected by disasters. In relation to the SHOC, Council noted that the draft SHOC and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), draft Memorandum of Understanding between the Secretariat and the SHOC; and a draft charter to establish SHOC have been developed and directed the Secretariat to work with the Government of Mozambique to operationalise the SHOC.
    • On the regional and continental integration, Council noted the status of the signing and ratification of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA). In this regard, Council urged Member States who have not signed or ratified AfCFTA and TFTA to do so to allow for the implementation of the agreements. The ratification of the TFTA Agreement is critical as it will pave way for the successful implementation of the AfCFTA.
    • Council endorsed the proposal to extend Kiswahili as a working language through interpretation at SADC Ministerial Committee meetings. The decision follows the approval by Summit in August 2019 to introduce Kiswahili as the Fourth SADC Official Working Language on a gradual approach by first using Kiswahili as a working language through interpretation at SADC Summit and Council meetings only.

    Download the Speeches by SADC Executive Secretary and Chairperson of the Council of Ministers

    ENGLISH-Remarks by the SADC Executive Secretary H.E. Dr Tax at the Council of Ministers meeting, 12 March, 2021.pdf

    FRENCH-Remarks by the SADC Executive Secretary H.E. Dr Tax at the Council of Ministers meeting, 12 March, 2021.pdf

    PORTUGUESE-Remarks by the SADC Executive Secretary H.E. Dr Tax at the Council of Ministers meeting, 12 March, 2021.pdf

    ENGLISH-Speech by the Chair of SADC Council of Ministers delivered on 12 March 2021.pdf

    FRENCH-Speech by the Chair of SADC Council of Ministers delivered on 12 March, 2021.pdf

    PORTUGUESE-Speech by the Chair of SADC Council of Ministers delivered on 12 March, 2021.pdf

     

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