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SADC Legal Texts and Policy Documents

SADC Legal Texts and Policy Documents

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Background

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has been in existence since 1980, when it was formed as a loose alliance of nine majority-ruled states in Southern Africa known as the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC), with the main aim of coordinating development projects in order to lessen economic dependence on the then apartheid South Africa. SADC’s legal status is that of an international organisation which has the legal capacity and power to “enter into contract, acquire, own, dispose of movable or immovable property and to sue and be sued (Art. 3(1) of the SADC Treaty). As an international organisation it has conventional organs such as the Summit of Heads of State or Government, the Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation, the Council of Ministers, the Integrated Committee of Ministers, the Standing Committee of Officials, the Secretariat, the Tribunal, and SADC National Committees. The main policy making organ is the Summit of Heads of State or Government. The policies are implemented through decisions adopted by the Council of Ministers. For more information go to the SADC website.

Member states

SADC has 16 member states that include Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Madagascar (that was suspended in March 2009 after a coup d’état), Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The 37th Ordinary SADC Summit in August 2017 admitted The Union of Comoros as the 16th Member of SADC and noted that the assessment of Burundi is work in progress.

SADC Treaty

The Treaty is the constitutive document establishing SADC and the framework from which all subsequent instruments are derived. All the Protocols, Memoranda of Understanding, Charters and Declarations are subordinate to the Treaty, and derive their legitimacy from the Treaty.

  • Declaration and Treaty of SADC (PDF, 1.4 MB)
  • Consolidated Text of the Treaty of the Southern African Development Community, as Amended (PDF, 61 KB)
    • Agreement on Amending Article 22 of the Treaty (PDF, 88 KB)

SADC Protocol on Trade (including Annexes)

This protocol is arguably the most important legal instrument of SADC. It aims to enhance cross-border investment by liberalising intra-regional trade. The objective is the implementation of a SADC FTA; therefore the Protocol contains all the obligations member states need to observe in order for the regional arrangement to be compatible with WTO rules. SADC amended the Protocol in 2000, 2007, and 2008, clarifying aspects of Rules of Origin and safeguard measures and incorporating new annexes on settlement of disputes and trade in sugar. Article 3 of the Protocol, which aims at the elimination of barriers to intra-SADC trade, was amended during the 36th SADC Summit in August 2016. French and Portuguese versions of certain texts are available to download, as indicated.

  • Protocol on Trade, 1996 (PDF, 2.68 MB)
    • Amendment Protocol on Trade, 2000 (PDF, 13 KB)
    • Agreement amending Article 3 of the Protocol on Trade (PDF, 190 KB)

  • Protocol on Trade (consolidated text), July 2014 version (PDF, 2.33 MB)

    • Annexes I to V (PDF, 102 KB)
    • Annex VI concerning the Settlement of Disputes (PDF, 30 KB)
    • Annex VII concerning Trade in Sugar (PDF, 25 KB)
    • Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Annex VIII - approved July 2014 (PDF, 269 KB)
    • Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Annex IX - approved July 2014 (PDF, 477 KB)

  • Protocol on Trade in Services (signed 2012) (PDF, 1.39 MB)

    • Protocol on Trade in Services (updated August 2016) (PDF, 249 KB) [English, French, Portuguese]

Other Protocols

Protocols are legal instruments necessary for cooperation between member states and the implementation of the SADC Treaty. They contain sets of guidelines and recommendations aimed at realising specific objectives of SADC.

  • Protocol on Finance and Investment (PDF, 347 KB)
    • Agreement Amending Annex 1 (Cooperation on Investment) - August 2016 [English, French, Portuguese]
    • Annex 12: Anti-Money Laundering (PDF, 2.02 MB)
    • Annex 13: Cooperation on Financial Matters, 2016 [English, French, Portuguese]

  • Protocol against Corruption (PDF, 32 KB)
    • Agreement Amending the SADC Protocol on Corruption, 2016 (PDF, 35 KB) [English, French, Portuguese]

  • Protocol on Gender and Development (PDF, 1003 KB)
    • Agreement Amending the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, 2016 (PDF, 93 KB) [English, French, Portuguese]
  • Protocol on the Tribunal, 2014 (PDF, 453 KB) 
    • Protocol on Tribunal and the Rules of Procedure Thereof, 2000 (PDF, 96 KB)
    • Agreement on Amending the Protocol on Tribunal, 2007 (PDF, 122 KB)

  • Protocol on Culture Information and Sport (PDF, 45 KB)
  • Protocol on Control of Firearms, Ammunition and other related materials (PDF, 33 KB)
  • Protocol on Combatting Illicit Drugs (PDF, 27 KB)
  • Protocol on Education and Training (PDF, 69 KB)
  • Protocol on Employment and Labour (PDF, 584 KB)
  • Protocol on Energy (PDF, 49 KB)
  • Protocol on Environmental Management for Sustainable Development (PDF, 668 KB)
  • Protocol on Extradition (PDF, 33 KB)
  • Protocol on the Facilitation of Movement of Persons (PDF, 599 KB)
  • Protocol on Fisheries (PDF, 53 KB)
  • Protocol on Forestry (PDF, 46 KB)
  • Protocol on Health (PDF, 41 KB)
  • Protocol on Immunities and Privileges (PDF, 25 KB)
  • Protocol on Legal Affairs (PDF, 22 KB)
  • Protocol on Mining (PDF, 30 KB)
  • Protocol on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (PDF, 32 KB)
  • Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation (PDF, 29 KB)
  • Protocol on Shared Watercourses (PDF, 42 KB)
  • Protocol on Tourism (PDF, 32 KB)
  • Protocol on Transport, Communications and Meteorology (PDF, 184 KB)
  • Protocol on Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement (PDF, 35 KB)

SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap

The SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap, 2015-2063, was approved by the Extra-Ordinary Summit in Harare, Zimbabwe, on 29 April 2015. It aims at accelerating the growth momentum and enhancing the comparative and competitive advantage of the economies of the region. It is envisioned that by 2063, the SADC region will be fully transformed and will be an important player in the continental and global landscape, premised on three growth phases.

The Costed Action Plan was approved by Council on 18 March 2017. It covers Phases I and II of the Strategy, with specific focus on the first 15 years (2015-2030). The Action Plan proposes an approach that calls for very decisive actions by SADC Member States to promote investment, trade, and industrial regionalisation. The total indicative public coordination cost for the Action Plan over the period 2016-2020 is estimated at about US$102 million.

  • Action Plan for SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap - March 2017 (PDF, 1.51 MB)

  • SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap, 2015-2063 (PDF, 2.58 MB)
    • French
    • Portuguese

SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP)

Politically, SADC adheres to an agenda that extends well beyond the target of achieving a free-trade area that was agreed upon by the member states in the SADC Trade Protocol. These ambitious targets are set out in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan of 2003. Although it is not a legally binding agreement, it enjoys political legitimacy. This strategic plan plots an integration agenda that includes the target of a free-trade area by 2008, a customs union by 2010, a common market by 2015 and an economic union by 2018.

  • SADC RISDP summary (PDF, 175 KB)
  • SADC RISDP (PDF, 854 KB)
  • Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan Desk Assessment, 2011 (PDF, 4.78 MB)

Regional Infrastructure Development Masterplan

Signed at the SADC Summit in August 2012, the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan (RIDMP) guides development in key infrastructure such as road, rail and ports, and also acts as a framework for planning and cooperation with development partners and the private sector. The master plan is in line with the African Union’s PIDA and will constitute a key input into the Inter-Regional Infrastructure Master Plan and TFTA.

  • Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan: Executive Summary (PDF, 4 MB)
    • RIDMP Transport Sector Plan (PDF, 10.21 MB)
    • RIDMP Energy Sector Plan (PDF, 2.75 MB)
    • RIDMP ICT Sector Plan (PDF, 4.4 MB)
    • RIDMP Meteorology Sector Plan (PDF, 1.6 MB)
    • RIDMP Tourism Sector Plan (PDF, 2.45 MB)
    • RIDMP Water Sector Plan (PDF, 3.57 MB)

SADC Regional Development Fund

The overall purpose of the Fund is to create a regional financing mechanism for economic development and sustainable growth in SADC. The Agreement operationalising the Fund was signed on 31 August 2016 in Swaziland.

  • Agreement on the Operationalisation of the SADC Regional Development Fund, 2016 (PDF, 316 KB) [English, French, Portuguese]

SADC Declarations

Declarations are manifestos dealing with a more specific subject than a protocol. It sets out the intention and commitment of the member states to improve certain areas of cooperation.

  • Dar es Salaam Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in the SADC Region (PDF, 21 KB)
  • Declaration on Gender and Development (PDF, 13 KB)
  • Declaration on HIV/AIDS (PDF, 21 KB)
  • Declaration on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) (PDF, 15 KB)
  • Declaration on Productivity (PDF, 14 KB)
  • SADC Declaration on Regional Cooperation Competition Policy (PDF, 3 MB)
  • Declaration on Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development (PDF, 215 KB)
  • SADC Declaration on Regional Infrastructure Development, 2014 (PDF, 211 KB)

SADC Memoranda of Understanding

These are preliminary legal documents describing an agreement between parties which will eventually lead to a protocol.

  • MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Competition Policy, Law and Enforcement, 2016 (PDF, 210 KB)
  • MoU on Macroeconomic Convergence (PDF, 19 KB)
  • MoU on Standardisation, Quality Assurance, Accreditation and Metrology (PDF, 46 KB)
  • MoU on Cooperation in SQAM, with signatures (PDF, 3.49 MB)
  • MoU on Cooperation in Taxation and Related Matters (PDF, 27 KB)
  • MoU on the SADC Standby Brigade (PDF, 329 KB)
  • MoU on the new Headquarters of SADC (PDF, 341 KB)

Regional Codes, Policies and Strategies

  • SADC Industrial Development Policy Framework, 2014 (PDF, 412 KB)
  • SADC Procurement Policy, 2014 (PDF, 482 KB)
  • SADC Regional Agricultural Policy, 2013 (PDF, 207 KB)
  • SADC Customs Information Communication Technology (ICT) Strategy, 2013 (PDF, 540 KB)
  • Private Sector Involvement Strategy in Customs Matters, 2013 (PDF, 412 KB)
  • SADC Policy for Strategy Development, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, 2012 (PDF, 973 KB)
  • SADC Model Bilateral Investment Treaty Template with Commentary, 2012 (PDF, 779 KB)

SADC Charters

Charters usually incorporate an institution or collective by specifying its principles, rights, privileges and responsibilities.

  • Charter Establishing the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development (CCARDESA), 2010 (PDF, 2.95 MB)
  • Charter of Fundamental Social Rights in SADC, 2003 (PDF, 471 KB)
  • Charter of the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA), 1997 (PDF, 43 KB)

SADC Success Stories

The ‘SADC Success Stories’ publication was launched on the sidelines of the 35th Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government in Gaborone, Botswana. The publication presents some of the notable achievements of regional integration in various sectors such as trade, transport, finance, tourism, energy, disaster management, water resources, peacekeeping training and political cooperation.

  • SADC Success Stories | Volume 1, 2015 (PDF, 1.5 MB)

Country Tariff Phase-down Offers

This is the process by which tariffs are gradually reduced in order to achieve a certain threshold to liberalise substantially all trade in the region. Tariff phase-down offers are based on a variable geometry model, taking into account the asymmetrical level of development in member states.

  • Final SACU Offer to the SADC members states (PDF, 811 KB)
  • Final Differentiated offer of Mozambique to the SADC member states (excluding RSA) (PDF, 371 KB)
  • Final General Offer of Mozambique to RSA (PDF, 345 KB)
  • Preliminary Differentiated offer of Malawi to the SADC member states (excluding RSA) (PDF, 388 KB)
  • Preliminary General offer of Malawi to RSA (PDF, 374 KB)
  • Preliminary Differentiated offer of Tanzania to the SADC member states (excluding RSA) (PDF, 382 KB)
  • Preliminary General offer of Tanzania to RSA (PDF, 358 KB)
  • Preliminary Differentiated offer of Zimbabwe to the SADC member states (excluding RSA) (PDF, 536 KB)
  • Preliminary General Offer of Zimbabwe to RSA (PDF, 465 KB)

Status updates

Updates on the status of SADC Member States’ signatures, ratifications and accessions to the SADC Treaty, Protocols and other legal instruments.

  • Status of Protocols and Declarations in SADC - August 2012 (PDF, 344 KB)
  • SADC Treaty and Protocols, Status of Protocols in Force - August 2010 (PDF, 620 KB)
  • Status of Protocols not yet in Force - August 2010 (PDF, 95 KB)

National contact points

  • SADC National Contact Points, updated 23 May 2017 (PDF, 220 KB)

SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement and South Africa’s transition from the TDCA

On 10 June 2016, the European Union and six countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) – Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland (BLNS), South Africa and Mozambique – signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the first of its kind between the EU and an African region pursuing the objective of economic integration.

Since 1 January 2000, South Africa had enjoyed preferential market access to the EU under the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA). The TDCA “Trade Chapter” has now been replaced by the SADC-EU EPA, which has been provisionally applied since 10 October 2016. The new agricultural market access provisions under the EPA became effective for both the EU and South Africa on 1 November 2016.

Please visit the SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement Documents and Resources page for more.


While tralac endeavours to list current legal instruments, we cannot accept responsibility or liability for any inaccuracies or omissions. The negotiation, ratification, implementation and/or modification of these instruments is an ongoing process and not always well-reported or updated by the relevant authorities. All documents are in English unless stated otherwise.

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