What role for national planning commissions in the promotion of deeper regional integration in SADC?Posted on Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 in Featured Publications, Trade Briefs
Author: Gerhard Erasmus
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has set itself very ambitious regional integration goals. There is now general agreement that more realistic goals and a better understanding of the integration process, the legal obligations and the outcomes are required. Even with scaled-downed expectations the efforts of the members and SADC need to be improved quite dramatically in order to achieve the economic and political objectives of the organisation. And there should be a concerted effort to align the various national development plans in the pursuit of regional goals for the benefit of all.
What is the SADC formula for meeting its own goals and for monitoring the performance of the member states? SADC lacks a clear approach or principle when it comes to the harmonisation of national efforts. The Secretariat cannot exercise the powers necessary to monitor and direct national activities. The SADC Treaty contains a rudimentary provision in Article 6(1) which is clearly inadequate: ‘Member States undertake to adopt adequate measures to promote the achievement of the objectives of SADC, and shall refrain from taking any measure likely to jeopardise the sustenance of its principles, the achievement of its objectives and the implementation of the provisions of this Treaty’. There is no mechanism to ensure compliance or remedy failures. Part of the solution lies in improving and strengthening SADC’s collective voice, if the necessary political will can be mustered. In the meantime the various domestic agencies responsible for national development plans should study the regional dimensions of their own schemes more thoroughly in order to align national efforts across borders and contribute to shared benefits.
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