SADC has made great strides in 2015: Mumbengegwi

14 Aug 2015 14:10pm
By Maggy Thomas
GABORONE, 14 AUG (NAMPA) – As long as Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries are unable to fund the organisation, the future of the regional programmes and activities will remain uncertain, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Simbarashe Mumbengegwi says.
“While we celebrate SADC achievements, we remain conscious of the fact that for as long as we are unable to fund our own organisation, SADC will not be wholly ours,” Mumbengegwi said while handing over the Chair of the SADC Council of Ministers during the official opening of the two-day Council of Ministers meeting underway in Gaborone, Botswana.
He said while SADC appreciates the support it receives from its cooperating partners, the continued dependency on their generosity and benevolence constitutes one of the most profound weaknesses of the organisation.
“This state of affairs compromises ownership and control as well as the sustainability of our programmes, particularly those in the strategic areas that are at the core of the Regional Indicative Development Plan as well as the Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ,” he stressed.
He said every year, the SADC is confronted with the twin realities of an ever expanding list of responsibilities against a background of dwindling resources.
“We should ask ourselves why we should continue to crowd our organisation with institutions and programmes that we member states have no capacity to fund,” he said.
The minister urged SADC member states to concentrate on those programmes that have a direct bearing on regional integration and peace and security.
“We should not heap on SADC those programmes that member states can implement on their own,” he cautioned.
This year, SADC put in place a Regional Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap which was approved by the SADC Summit in Harare.
The region also worked tirelessly this year to finalise the Revised SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2015-2020, which has also mainstreamed the industrialisation agenda of the region.
The RISDP outlines the region’s priorities for member states and gives the pre-requisite strategic direction to the SADC Secretariat for the coming years.
The period under review also witnessed the launch of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Trade Area (TFTA) in June this year, while the Continental Free Trade Area negotiations were also launched.
A Namibian delegation, led by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah comprised among others, Ministers of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta; Works and Transport Alfeus !Naruseb; Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development Minister Immanuel Ngatjizeko; High Commissioner to Botswana Mbapewa Muvangua and high-ranking government officials from different ministries.
The Council of Ministers meeting which was officially opened by SADC Executive Secretary, Stergomena Lawrence Tax, ends on Saturday.