The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has launched the second edition publication that documents some of the region’s major successes.
Known asThe SADC Success Stories, the publication documents notable achievements of regional integration in various sectors such as trade, industrialisation, finance, tourism, energy, water, agriculture, conservation, peace and security, among others.
The second edition was launched on Monday in Tshwane on the sidelines of the ongoing 37th SADC Summit.
SADC Executive Secretary, Stergomena Lawrence Tax, who unveiled the publication, said the book is intended to showcase and motivate the region.
“The stories help to motivate us as the SADC member states and the Secretariat to scale up the most impactful and life changing interventions and where necessary, replicate best practices in order to benefit the greatest number of citizens,” said Tax.
She said The SADC Success Stories is one way of reaching the population and enhancing awareness about the achievements and impact of SADC programmes for ordinary citizens.
The region, Tax said, feels it is not sufficiently understood in terms of its mandate, programmes, activities and impact. This has also been made worse by negative mainstream media reports, which often paint the region and the continent as being disease, conflict, hunger and poverty ridden.
“As a region, we have moved many steps in the positive direction. As you read the [success] stories, you will realise that our citizens are on a path to prosperity,” said Tax, noting that the region is also realising economic transformation and sustainable socio-economic development.
A thriving region
One of the stories featured in the book is the construction of Kazungula Bridge over the Zambezi River. The bridge will soon form a major transport link in the heart of the region.
Once the project is complete, it is expected to reduce border transit times. Improved border operations will curb congestion. It will provide the much-needed connection between the regional economic areas and link regional ports, which handle exports and imports from and through Botswana and Zambia.
Namibia and Mozambique, through Walvis Bay and Nacala respectively, are growing a network of development corridors, which SADC will develop over the years.
These two initiatives are set to drive massive investment in infrastructure and strengthen the road and rail network trade corridors.
In agriculture, the book highlights the development of the Bvumbwe tomato variety, which was cultivated to address the specific environmental conditions and needs of the region.
The tomatoes produced not only create jobs but they have high nutritional value, which addresses food security in the region, especially for low income households.
“These stories are also meant to motivate the private sector to participate actively in SADC regional integration, the international cooperation partners to continue supporting SADC and media practitioners in the region to do more research and generate stories and ideas that will contribute to the benefits of SADC cooperation and integration,” said Tax.
The book is available in the three official SADC languages — English, Portuguese and French.
The first edition of the book was launched in 2015, which managed to reach over one million people in the region. It is hoped that the second edition will surpass this number.
Germany, which has supported SADC for almost two decades, helped financially in the publication of the book. Germany, Tax said, has reaffirmed that it will support the region on its path to success and integration.