35th SADC Summit Brochure: Advancing the regional integration agenda
This publication, prepared by SARDC for the 35th SADC Summit in Botswana on 17-18 August 2015, provides a public record of SADC activities and achievements in the past year, including adoption of the industrialization strategy and the regional development plan, and launch of the Tripartite Free Trade Area with EAC and COMESA.
The 35th Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government in Gaborone, Botswana, comes after a momentous year in which the region scored a number of major successes. The regional integration agenda has advanced significantly since the last Summit held in August 2014 in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. This shows the growing commitment by our leaders to achieve the long-term vision of a Common Future, within a regional community that will ensure economic wellbeing, improvement of the standards of living and quality of life, freedom and social justice, and peace and security for the people of Southern Africa.
Two key developments during the past year were the approval of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap, and the finalisation of the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2015-2020. The strategy and roadmap are expected to unlock doors within and beyond the region, presenting opportunities for the socio-economic transformation of our countries and immensely contribute to growth and development. The development, and ultimate approval, of the industrialisation strategy and roadmap shows the wisdom of SADC leaders to ensure that the region benefits from its vast natural resources endowment.
The Revised RISDP 2015-2020 was another major milestone during the year. Approved by the Extra-Ordinary Summit held in April 2015, the Revised RISDP recalibrates the SADC regional integration agenda, prioritizing, among others, industrial development. The revised blueprint provides a guiding framework for the last phase of the RISDP. The scope and purpose of the Revised RISDP remain unchanged from those of the original document, except that emphasis has been placed on re-aligning existing priorities with resources allocation in terms of their relative importance and greater impact on regional integration. It defines specific results and timeframes in the various areas of cooperation and integration in order to facilitate monitoring and evaluation. The purpose of the Revised RISDP is to deepen regional integration in SADC and it provides SADC Member States with a consistent and comprehensive programme of medium-term economic and social policies. It also provides the Secretariat and other SADC institutions with a clear view of SADC’s approved economic and social policies and priorities.
These two major developments are described in greater detail in this Brochure, which also presents my progress report on Achievements/Milestones since the last Summit in Victoria Falls. In addition, there is a section devoted to summaries of the key activities and programmes undertaken by the various SADC Secretariat directorates and units during the past year. This allows stakeholders to understand the sector-specific vision and mandate of SADC, as well as track implementation of the programme of action.
In line with the African Union declaration of 2015 as the “Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development Towards Agenda 2063”, the Brochure dedicates a section to this continental theme, highlighting efforts by SADC in this area. SADC is an important building bloc of the envisaged African Economic Community and will play its part in advancing the AU Agenda 2063.
The Summit Brochure also dedicates a full section to the Republic of Botswana, as the Host Nation of the 35th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government.
Each year the SADC Media Awards recognise members of the media who raise awareness about the SADC regional integration agenda. The main objective of the annual SADC Media Awards is to promote regional integration through information dissemination as well as to promote journalism excellence in the region. An important part of the success of our programmes and activities depends on the media to raise visibility and to communicate with the people of the region. Equally important are the winners of the Secondary Schools Essay Competition who will be honoured during the 35th SADC Summit.
We appreciate the achievements we have made in the past year with the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Robert Mugabe, in the Chair, and I want to express our sincere gratitude to him and to the Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, the President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Jacob Zuma, for their guidance and exemplary leadership during the year.
We look forward to Botswana’s stewardship in guiding the regional integration agenda for the coming year under the leadership of His Excellency President Seretse Khama Ian Khama.
It is my hope therefore that you will find this publication very useful. I am pleased to share with you the 35th SADC Summit Brochure, and I wish to express my very special gratitude to our knowledge partner, the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC), for their dedicated work in preparing this important publication.