Preparations are well underway for South Africa to host the 37th Ordinary Summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), government said on Thursday.
South Africa, as incoming chair of the regional bloc, is hosting the summit from 19 to 20 August under the theme ‘Partnering with the private sector in developing industry and regional value chains’.
The SADC chairmanship, on a one-year-term basis, rotates among the bloc’s member states.
The summit will be preceded by the Senior Officials’ Meeting on 11 – 14 August, the Ministerial Meeting on 16 August, Double Troika on 18 August and the actual Summit on 19 – 20 August.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s Deputy Director General, Xolisa Makaya, said the theme of these meetings — which will take place at the DIRCO head office in Tshwane –- seeks to address two key issues that can help move the industrialisation programme in the region.
The first segment of the theme – ‘Partnering with the private sector’ – is focused on the need to build the region’s capabilities both inside and outside of government to support industry.
The second component of the theme – ‘Developing industry and regional value chains’ – speaks to attracting private sector players to the prioritised value chains.
Makaya said South Africa will use its chairmanship to drive regional industrialisation and integration. Three potential growth paths, namely agro-processing, mineral beneficiation and downstream processing value chains, have been identified.
As part of the overall aim of the summit, Makaya said a regional industrialisation week is planned from 31 July to 4 August. This event will be a platform for engagement between public and private sectors in relation to the implementation of the SADC industrialisation strategy.
The summit will also pay tribute to the outgoing President Dos Santos of Angola, who will be stepping down after 37 years as President.
“The summit is not only expected to bid farewell to President Dos Santos but to also thank him profoundly for this invaluable contribution and role to the liberation struggle in the region,” said Makaya.
SADC turns 25
The 37th session will also coincide with the 25th anniversary of the formation of SADC, formed on 17 August 1992 in Windhoek, Namibia.
The total membership has since grown to 15 member states, which are united in the objectives of sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development; promotion of common political values, systems and other shared values as well as the consolidation and maintenance of democracy, peace, security and stability in the region.
Other items on the agenda will be the election of the chairperson and deputy chairperson of summit of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation; the review of the political and security situation in the region, as well as the update on the implementation of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP 2015-2020).
The security and political issues in Madagascar, the DRC and Lesotho will also be discussed.
“There will be an overall review of the political and security situation in the region… In the DRC, there is political transaction pursuant to the signing of the peace agreement [agreed upon] in December, which provides for a transitional government that will prepare for the next elections. During the summit, there is an expectation that there will be an update from the DRC.
“With regards to Lesotho, we have facilitator Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. We remain seized by the situation in Lesotho and the new government is expected to detail their action plan for the country and the reforms, as recommended by the SADC in the past.”