SADC Ministers meeting concludes

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of Ministers’ two-day meeting, which reviewed the implementation of summit decisions and budget for the year ahead, concluded in Tshwane on Tuesday.

The SADC Council of Ministers was hosted by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, in her capacity as chairperson and attended by regional Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

Speaking to the media after the summit, Minister Sisulu said the meeting successfully deliberated on several issues of importance to the region in relation to priority programmes contained in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan 2015-2020 (RISDP); the Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ (SIPO II); and the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063.

The Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015 – 2063, aims to accelerate the momentum towards strengthening the comparative and competitive advantages of the economies in the region.

Minister Sisulu said the council noted the achievements recorded across the SADC priority areas of industrial development and market integration; infrastructure support for regional integration; peace and security; special programmes of regional dimension; cross-cutting issues as well as corporate services and institutional reforms and commended the SADC secretariat for the significant improvement in both output implementation rate and budget utilization rates.

“The council noted the progress made on the implementation of the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap for 2017/18, which include the identification, profiling and commencement of the development of value chains in the pharmaceutical, minerals and agro-processing sectors.

“[The council] directed Secretariat to convene meetings to assist member states with negotiating and developing value chains in leather, soya, aquaculture, iron and steel, copper, cement and manufacturing of ARVs, malaria medicines and mosquito bed nets,” Minister Sisulu said on Tuesday.

The council noted the progress made towards the operationalisation of the SADC University of Transformation, which will contribute towards capacity building in the region, as well as deliver educational training using the vocational education training model.

The council noted the process that has unfolded from the time a decision to reform the African Union was made by the AU Assembly.

While acknowledging that reform is an absolute necessity, Minister Sisulu said SADC “contends that the decisions on the reform should have followed the appropriate procedure, and their implementation should not violate the AU Constitutive Act, rules of procedure, national frameworks and other international treaties”.

The council mandated the SADC ambassadors accredited to the AU to constantly engage with the African Union Commission Chairperson and the Head of the Reform Implementation Unit; and directed the Secretariat to submit regular reports highlighting areas that require further engagements.

Curbing Listeriosis

In response to the outbreak of Listeriosis in the SADC Region, the council urged member states to harmonise prevention, detection and response procedures; strengthen the control of food industries in terms of compliance to food safety standards; and to enforce policies that are aligned to international codes.

“The council further urged member states to strengthen cross-border collaboration in the importation of processed foods; and to establish mechanisms for intersectoral and multi-sectoral coordination and effective communication to facilitate implementation of core public health capacities, all-hazards risk assessment approach including addressing risk management for Listeriosis outbreak,” Minister Sisulu added.

The food-borne disease, which was first identified in June 2017 in South Africa, has claimed 180 lives and to date, 940 Listeriosis cases have been reported in the country.

They have no reported cases of Listeriosis in their countries, except for Namibia.

As such the regional health ministers also agreed to strengthen the control of food industries in terms of compliance to food safety standards, as well as the enforcement of policies that are aligned to international codes as well as public education of the disease. –