SADC heads meet
SADC Heads of State met in Maputo this weekend to review regional integration and investment, among other matters.
During the meeting, the Summit elected Armando Emilio Guebuza, the President of the Republic of Mozambique and President Joyce Banda of the Republic of Malawi as Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of SADC, respectively. The Summit also elected Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania and H.E. President Hifikepunye Pohamba of the Republic Namibia as Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, respectively.
President Guebuza indicated that his chairpersonship would, amongst others, focus on the Development Corridors as Vehicles for SADC Regional Integration that need to be harnessed due to the role they play in consolidating social dimensions of development and the regional integration process.
The Heads of State focused on peace initiatives in the SADC region, as well as the need to deepen regional integration, improving the economic situation and the alleviation of poverty.
Speaking at the Summit, Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), said there were liquidity challenges at the global level, arising from the Eurozone crisis, and challenged member states to mobilise resources for investment in projects for Africa and particularly for the SADC Region.
The Summit noted that the economic performance of the region was characterized by a slow economic growth as shown by a decline in real GDP from 5.5% in 2010 to 4.7%, in 2011 and a stagnant level of average inflation at 8.3%. This trend was largely influenced by developments in the global markets especially in the Eurozone.
The Summit also reviewed progress in the implementation of the regional economic integration agenda; and received a report on the framework of the SADC Customs Union from the Ministerial Task Force on Regional Economic Integration outlining key elements for the Customs Union, in particular the parameters, benchmarks and a model Customs Union for SADC including the sequencing of activities. The Heads of State noted progress made towards the establishment of the Tripartite Free Trade Area, especially preparatory work to facilitate negotiations under the chairpersonship of the SADC Region.
The Summit also noted progress made towards the operationalization of the SADC Regional Development Fund, a financial mechanism intended to mobilise resources from member states, private sector and development partners to finance programmes and projects for regional development and deeper integration. The Summit noted areas of agreement reached in the various aspects of the Fund, including the windows of the Fund with the infrastructure and industrial development windows as top priorities and a subscribed capital of USD1.2 billion to be raised as seed capital.