The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Hon. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, today briefed the media on the upcoming SADC Council of Ministers ahead of the 37th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government on 19-20 August 2017.
Hon. Nkoana-Mashabane was accompanied at the media briefing by the Executive Secretary of the SADC Secretariat, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax.
The Minister said Council will discuss a wide range of issues including endorsing the theme for the 37th Summit of Heads of State and Government, titled: Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains which has been proposed by the Government of the Republic of South Africa.
On Continental Integration, Hon Nkoana-Mashabane, said Council will receive progress on the implementation of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), the COMESA-EAC-SADC Agreement; and Continental Free Trade Area negotiations and the Council is expected to endorse the Draft SADC Common Position on the negotiations of the Draft Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community relating to the Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment.
Other issues to be discussed by Council will be on the operationalisation of the SADC Regional Development Fund which will have support windows for Disaster Preparedness and Response Fund and Agricultural Development Fund.
In relation to the status of implementation of SADC Secretariat, Council will receive and consider the Report of the SADC Executive Secretary for the period 2016-2017 which highlights the progress on the Secretariat activities, challenges confronted and proposals aimed at addressing such challenges.
On the application by the Union of Comoros and the Republic of Burundi for membership to SADC, the Council will receive the report from the meeting of the Ministerial Committee of the ORGAN (MCO) on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation in respect of the applications from the two countries.
The Council of Ministers will start meeting on Tuesday, 15th August 2017. The Council is one of the key structures of SADC that oversees the functioning and development of SADC. Consisting of Ministers from each of the fifteen Member States, usually from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Economic Planning, or Finance, the Council ensures that policies are properly implemented. it meets twice a year in February or March and immediately prior to the Summit in August or September.