Incoming SADC Chairperson of the Council of Ministers Kenneth Matambo says the just ended SADC Council of Ministers’ meeting , which convened on 14th and ended on 15th August, 2015, discussed positive issues of importance with a focus to regional integration and development.
ZANIS reports from Botswana that Mr. Matambo, who is also Botswana’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning, disclosed this during a press briefing yesterday held at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) , here.
He said the Council of Ministers also made key decisions on how to further accelerate the regional integration agenda and to address emerging issues for the benefit of all SADC citizens.
Among the issues that the Council supports the 35th SADC Ordinary Heads of State and Government summit theme dubbed: “Accelerating Industrialisation of SADC Economies through Transformation of Natural Endowment and Improved Human Capital,” as proposed by Botswana.
The Strategy is expected to enable the region to add value to its natural resources and bring about socio-economic transformation thereby lifting millions from abject poverty, according to the incoming SADC Chairperson of the Council of Ministers .
Mr. Matambo also cited that the Council has noted a stable political and economic environment in the region and has therefore commended member states of Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Mauritius, Lesotho and Zambia for holding peaceful elections.
On the development of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap, among others, which were adopted by Summit in April, 2015, the Council has directed the SADC Secretariat to expeditiously finalise the development of an Action Plan on the Strategy.
And on sustainable financing mechanisms, Mr. Matambo explained that the Council stressed the need for reduced financial dependency and the need to explore sustainable ways of financing SADC programmes.
To this effect, the Council has directed that the Committee of Ministers of Finance are to coordinate work on alternative sources of funds in order to efficiently finalise and operationalise the Regional Development Fund, observed the Incoming SADC Chairperson of the Council of Ministers.
“The Council directed the Secretariat to conduct research into various options of alternative sources of income, while benchmarking with other relevant organisations such as the African Union and other regional economic communities, “ said Mr. Matambo.
On the Tripartite Free Trade Area involving Southern African Development (SADC), East African Community (EAC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Council has directed that the SADC Secretariat in its capacity as current Chair and Co-ordinator of the Tripartite Task Force to facilitate the finalisation of negotiations on outstanding areas under Phase 1 of the TFTA negotiations in order to make the agreement effective.
“The Council urged the member states that have not signed and ratified the TFTA Agreement to do so and to expeditiously finalise their offers in order to fully operationalise the Agreement,” said Mr. Matambo.
Meanwhile, the SADC Executive Secretary Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax has launched the SADC AT 35 Success Stories for 2015 booklet.
Dr. Tax explained that the booklet highlights achievements SADC has recorded in the last 35 years citing among others, the pioneers who were behind the formation of the institution in April, 1980 in Lusaka, Zambia when it was formerly called the Southern Africa Development Coordination Conference (SADCC).
“ The leaders of the region sought to demonstrate their vision of unity through the tangible benefits of working together, “she explained.
And in congratulating the regional body for its successful story, the Germany Ambassador to Botswana Rolf Ulrich said Germany has been supporting SADC in its endeavours for the past 20 years because it believes in the regional body’s vision economic integration.
“We believe in regional cooperation in Europe and elsewhere. Germany’s foreign policy has become multilateral in nature. We try to encourage regional integration, including Africa,” said the Germany Ambassador.
President Edgar Lungu is expected to attend the 35th Ordinary SADC Heads of State and Government summit which convenes on 17th and will end on 18th, August, 2015.