The Ambassador of Switzerland to Botswana (non-resident) and Permanent Representative to SADC, His Excellency Dr. Nicolas Brühl on 3rd December, 2019 presented his letters of credence to the SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax at the SADC Secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana.
H.E. Ambassador Dr. Brühl thanked the Executive Secretary, Her Excellency, Dr. Stergomena Lawrence for receiving him, and congratulated her as the first woman SADC Executive Secretary. He said the Government of Switzerland is committed to continue collaborating with SADC in various areas, including in conflict resolution and mediation, citing the contribution by the former Swiss Ambassador to Mozambique, Mr Mirko Manzoni in a peace accord signed between the Frelimo Party and Renamo in the Republic of Mozambique in his capacity as the United Nations Special Envoy.
H.E. Dr Tax congratulated Ambassador Dr. Brühl for the appointment and welcomed him to SADC Secretariat. She informed the Ambassador that SADC is open for collaboration with Switzerland in areas that fall within SADC priorities as spelt out in the revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), which are: Industrial Development and Market Integration; Infrastructure in Support of Regional Integration; Peace and Security; and Special Programmes of Regional Dimension, such as climate change, food security, health and education amongst others.
She specifically, expressed SADC’s appreciation to Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC), the Government of Switzerland for having worked closely with the SADC Secretariat on “Strengthening, Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting (MER) Systems for Orphans, Vulnerable Children (OVC) and Youth in SADC Project”. A project which was aimed at strengthening the capacity of SADC Member States and the Secretariat to generate and utilise age, gender and vulnerability disaggregated evidence and information on OVC and youth to inform policy development, implementation and progress reporting. The project delivered a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework that will go a long way in tracking indicators on OVC and Youth programmes.
The Executive Secretary also said, while SADC has made strides in market integration, a lot still need to be done to industrialise and transform SADC economies, and highlighted the need for more investors and partners, especially in mineral, pharmaceutical and agro-processing value chains which have been identified as priority sectors in SADC industrialisation.
On gender and women empowerment, the two parties discussed the need for strengthening of cooperation on gender equality to, among others, support the role of women farmers and respond to the needs of women and girls, as well as, women’s participation in peace and security processes as reflected in the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development and Regional Strategy on Women in Peace and Security (2018 – 2022).
The Executive Secretary was accompanied by Mr Jorge Cardoso, Director of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs and Ms. Duduzile Simelane, Director of Social and Human Development, while H.E. Ambassador Dr. Brühl was accompanied by Ms. Matebe Chisiza, Foreign Policy Advisor of the Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa.