Vision 2050: SADC ponders futurePosted on Monday, July 9th, 2012 by Ngwawi, Joseph (SADC Today, Volume 14, No.4, SARDC) in News
SADC is defining a new development blueprint that is expected to shape southern Africa’s regional integration agenda until 2050.
The SADC Vision 2050 aims to provide a framework for a long-term vision for SADC as the region seeks to position itself in a context of emerging global and continental issues such as climate change, democratisation of the United Nations and increasing financial instability.
According to the SADC chairperson, Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, the intention is to set in motion a development agenda that takes into account the dynamics of events and issues affecting not only the southern African region, but also the rest of the world.
“We propose that our organisation holds, at the highest level, an extended reflection about our vision and our strategic objectives in a longterm horizon,” he said.
Dos Santos stressed that this should mitigate potential threats from emerging global issues, and ensure that the strategic objectives of SADC are not endangered.
The Angolan president warned that without a common position on emerging global issues “we run the risk of suffering from their undesirable effects both in all our countries and in the region as a whole.
“The direction of economic growth in several SADC member states is influenced by trends in global commodity prices due to relatively high dependence on the export of commodities, mainly minerals including crude oil, gold, diamonds and platinum, as well as tobacco, sugar and cotton.
For example, the global crisis of 2008/09 resulted in a reduction in mineral value in nine economies in southern Africa.
The most affected sectors in 2009 were oil and mining, because of their sensitivity to global GDP changes, thus Angola, Botswana, DRC, Mozambique and Namibia were negatively affected.
other countries such as Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius and to a lesser extent Swaziland, which are heavily dependent on the export of income-sensitive products such as clothing and textiles, were severely affected in terms of reduced export returns and shrinking employment.
Dos Santos presented a concept paper on the need to develop the SADC Vision 2050 to other SADC Heads of State and Government during an Extraordinary Summit held in Luanda in June.
The concept was referred to Member States for further consultations and contributions.
“Inputs from this process will be consolidated and submitted to Council and Summit at the next meeting in August 2012,” said a final communiqué from the Extraordinary Summit.
SADC is in the process of engaging consultants to undertake an independent midterm review of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), its 15-year regional integration plan.”
The objective is to analyse SADC’s performance and identify the challenges encountered and lessons learnt during the implementation of the RISDP from 2005 to 2010.
An initial desk assessment of the RISDP carried out by the SADC Secretariat at the beginning of 2012 has revealed that all sectors have been able to fully or partially reach most of the outputs and targets within the stated timeframes.
SADC has developed, adopted and approved critical policies, protocols and frameworks, established implementing institutions and increased its visibility since implementation of the RISDP started in 2005.
Issues identified by the desk assessment as some of the main challenges to be addressed in the next 10 years of implementing the RISDP include the need to: facilitate implementation at Member State level; ensure effective structures for Secretariat and Member State cooperation; deepen consultation at Member State level; ensure realistic targets; complete the ongoing RISDP evaluation; and, tackle human, financial and technical resources constraints at the SADC Secretariat.
The desk review also identified the need for: strengthening monitoring and evaluation; mainstreaming RISDP crosscutting issues such as gender and climate change; improvement of the think-tank capacity of the Secretariat; maintaining SADC as a platform for common pan-African and global positions; and ensuring more effective and efficient stakeholder participation.
Human resources constraints have been identified as a major impediment to improving the Secretariat’s performance.
The Extraordinary Summit noted that the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan is being finalised. This would form the basis for implementing infrastructure networks in the key sectors such as energy and transport including maritime corridors, information communication technologies, tourism and water infrastructure, taking into account the specificities of the island member states.
Summit approved a proposal to include specific programmes to develop the infrastructure connecting the maritime island states of the SADC region as part of the infrastructure master plan.
“It is unfortunately a common occurrence that African continental organisations sometimes neglect the infrastructure needs of its maritime space,” the Seychelles Foreign Minister, Jean-Paul Adam, observed.
The long-awaited launch of SADC’s infrastructure master plan is expected to allow the region to establish an efficient, seamless and cost effective transboundary infrastructure network to support socio-economic development in Member States.
A vibrant transport network can accelerate regional integration as well as ensure that the SADC Free Trade Area (FTA) launched in 2008 and the impending SADC Customs Union are successfully implemented through addressing delays at border posts and promoting the free movement of goods and services across southern Africa.
Some of the programmes that the plan would target include the Kazungula Bridge linking Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe; the proposed Zimbabwe-Zambia-Botswana-Namibia power transmission line that links the four respective countries, dubbed ZiZaBoNa; and the Benguela railway line through Angola and Zambia.
The Luanda Extraordinary Summit also directed the Council of Ministers, and in particular the SADC Ministers responsible for Finance and Investment, to expedite the process for the establishment of the SADC Development Fund, which would, among other things, ensure the availability of adequate levels of resources to fund regional infrastructure programmes.
The march towards regional integration in southern Africa has been delayed by the slow pace of implementation of projects and programmes due to lack of adequate funding.
This has been partly blamed on the current funding structure of SADC where Member States contribute about 40 percent of the annual budget, with the remainder coming from International Cooperating Partners.