SADC Think Tank Conference on Regional Integration – Maputo, 10 August 2012
The objective of the inaugural SADC Think Tank Conference on Regional Integration was to provide a platform for dialogue and exchange amongst stakeholders, which would enhance the SADC policy development processes. Specifically, the conference was aimed at providing an opportunity for regional policy makers and researchers to exchange views on the processes and status of Southern African integration. These discussions and their observations and conclusions will feed into the review of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), which is on-going. The conference was planned to be a high-level event to precede the meeting of the SADC Council of Ministers and Summit of Head of States and Governments.
This conference was organised jointly by the SADC Secretariat and the Centro de Estudos Estratégicos e Internacionais (CEEI). Just over 100 senior participants attended the multi-stakeholder conference, including representatives from the SADC Secretariat (the SADC Deputy Executive Secretary-Regional Integration; Deputy Executive Secretary-Finance and Administration; six Directors); the Permanent Secretary for Regional Integration from Zimbabwe; government representatives from Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Swaziland; about 60 senior researchers from 12 Member States; representatives of civil society organizations (such as the SADC-Council of Non-Governmental Organizations); business representatives, including the Association of SADC Chambers of Commerce and Industry; and other regional entities such as the Southern Africa Trust and the Development Bank of Southern Africa.
The conference was held on 10 August 2012 at the Hotel Cardoso, Maputo, Mozambique. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) supported the preparation and implementation of the event.
Regional Economic Integration
Trudi Hartzenberg, Trade Law Centre (tralac) Executive Director, presented the first issues paper on Economic integration matters for the SADC. The paper traced the historical evolution of Southern African integration from a coordinating conference to the community.
She stated the Trade Protocol was central to the implementation of the SADC’s economic integration agenda. Under the Trade Protocol, Member States have undertaken a commitment to establish a Free Trade Area; this brings the SADC economic integration agenda into the ambit of the World Trade Organisation’s rules for regional trade agreements. The RISDP extends the developmental economic integration agenda, mapping progress from a free trade area (FTA) by 2008; to a customs union (CU) in 2010; then a common market in 2015; followed by a monetary union in 2016; and ultimately the introduction of a single currency in 2018. It is important to note that the RISDP is SADC’s strategic plan for economic integration; a plan which can and should be reviewed and adapted to changes in the global, regional and national political economy environment.