Economy, peace to feature at SADC summit

The Draft Protocol on Finance and Investment, together with 10 draft agreements amending various protocols, will be tabled before the summit of heads of state and government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The Draft Protocol on Finance and Investment was presented and discussed during a meeting of SADC ministers of finance and investment held in Botswana on 28 July.

According to SADC Executive Secretary, Tomaz Augusto Salom’o, the Finance and Investment Protocol is the cornerstone framework for southern Africa’s economic integration.

The document outlines, amongst other things, how the region intends to move towards a Monetary Union by 2010.

“The Draft Protocol on Finance and Investment will be tabled before summit for approval and signature, together with 10 draft agreements that amend SADC protocols on the Tribunal; Trade; Immunities and Privileges; Transport; Communications and Meteorology; Energy; Mining; Combating Illicit Drugs; Education and Training; and Annexes VI and VII of the Trade Protocol,” said Salom’o.

The Finance and Investment Protocol will be a complement instrument in southern Africa’s integration process, taking into account the ongoing implementation of the SADC Protocol on Trade as well as targets outlined in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan.

Such targets include the creation of the FTA, a customs union by 2010 and a common market by 2015. A SADC central bank and monetary union are proposed by 2016 while the region hopes to have a regional currency by 2018.

The leaders will also discuss the chairperson’s report, which covers key issues since the previous summit last year in Botswana. Botswana currently holds the rotating chair of SADC.

The Maseru summit will witness the official handover of the SADC Chair from President Festus Mogae of Botswana to Prime Minister, Pakalitha Mosisili, of Lesotho.

Namibia, which chairs the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, will also table a report for discussion.

Key issues on the political front include elections held in the United Republic of Tanzania (October and December), Zimbabwe (November) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (July).

Zambia and Madagascar are also expected to hold elections this year. The Zambian polls are scheduled for 28 September, with those in Madagascar set for 3 December.

The SADC leaders are also expected to consider an application by Seychelles for readmission into the regional body. Seychelles pulled out of SADC in 2004, citing financial problems.

Salom’o said the president of Seychelles, James Michel, will attend as an observer.

The summit of heads of state and government is the ultimate policy-making institution of SADC. SADC Council of Ministers meets in advance of summit to prepare policy recommendations for adoption. Senior officials will meet first to prepare the agenda for the summit. ‘ sardc.net


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