SADC Ministers meet ahead of summit

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Regional integration, trade as well as peace and security are among the issues that are expected to be high on the agenda as a group of Ministers belonging to SADC meet in Pretoria on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The SADC Council of Ministers meeting is a precursor to the SADC Heads of State summit to take place in Tshwane this coming weekend. The meeting of Ministers, which will receive several report on issues facing the region, prepares critical documents for adoption by the Heads of State summit.

On Tuesday, South Africa took over as chair of the Council, with International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane replacing outgoing chairperson Prince Hlangusemphi Dlamini of Swaziland. South Africa also takes over the chair of SADC for the next year.

The regional body is celebrating 25 years of existence and Minister Nkoana-Mashabane has urged those who are attending the meeting in Tshwane to use the silver jubilee as an opportunity to reflect on “how far we have come in fostering pragmatism and cohesion in our region”.

“In our journey towards regional integration, it is critical that we recognise the relationship and interconnectedness of our regional priorities and the agreed aspirations of the AU’s African Agenda 2063,” Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said.

The theme ‘Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains’, is seen as directly linked to SADC’s programme of industrialisation and economic partnership through partnerships with the private sector.

The Minister said regional leaders at this year’s summit carry a responsibility to ensure that decision taken at these meetings are able to improve the quality of life for the region’s people.

“To this end, we cannot be found to be wanting or to have failed. As such, we must commit appropriate resources and make a concerted effort to cooperatively work together towards the SADC we want,” she said. – 

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