SADC University of Transformation still in the pipeline

31 Jul 2017 14:50pm
By Paulus Shiku
JOHANNESBURG, 31 JUL (NAMPA) – A study on the feasibility of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) University of Transformation is being carried out.
SADC Secretariat Programme Officer for Industrial Policy, Dr Monnane Monnane revealed this on Sunday at the media awareness workshop on the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“A feasibility study is underway and a report is expected by March 2018,” said Monnane.
SADC Chairperson, King Mswati III of Swaziland proposed the institution last year.
According to media reports, Mswati revealed plans to establish the SADC university by August 2017 when the 37th SADC Summit takes place.
“This initiative will give new hope and opportunity to our youth and our women. The intention is to have the first intake of students prior to the 37th SADC Summit in 2017,” Mswati was quoted as saying.
Journalists at the workshop, however, said they have been struggling to get information on the proposed institution.
Mohlahela Bonisile Gugu from the Swazi Observer on Sunday said her efforts to get answers on the university’s progress failed and asked the SADC Secretariat for a detailed update on the matter.
In response, Peter Mabaka, who is responsible for media liaison at the Secretariat, said this is a big project and the idea is to ensure that it “does not become just another university but one which will make a difference in skills development in Africa”.
“The idea has not died, it is still in progress. I hope the summit will update us more on this issue,” he said
The proposed university would focus on technical and vocational education, and is expected to train people in innovation and entrepreneurship to enable the southern African region to become industrialised.
Media reports have it that Mswati offered to host the university and said his government would offer scholarships to the first 300 students from all 15 SADC member states.
The institution is expected to complement the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063.
The Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063, approved by SADC leaders in April 2015, is aimed at steering the major economic and technological transformation of the region. This includes raising the living standard of people in the region and intensifying structural transformation to rapidly catch up with industrialised and developed countries.
About 40 journalists from SADC member states attended a one-day workshop here Sunday to learn about the strategy and roadmap, which preceded the second SADC Industrialisation Week from Monday to Friday.