SADC Secretariat key to regional integration
Headed by an Executive Secretary, the Secretariat is the principal executive institution of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), responsible for strategic planning, facilitation and coordination and management of all SADC Programmes.
The Secretariat is based in Gaborone, Botswana.
Speaking at a familiarization tour of the SADC Headquarters on 20 May, SADC chairperson, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe said the Secretariat is an important SADC institution, and without it “SADC as an organization, would not realise its objectives.”
As such, all countries in southern Africa will continue to render their full support to the Secretariat and ensure that the region remains a reference point for regional cooperation, integration and prosperity.
“We are alive to the fact that, for us to achieve the development goals SADC has set for itself, we need an efficient, well-managed and well-resourced Secretariat,” he said.
“We will, therefore, on our part, always endeavour to ensure that the needs of our staff are well taken care of, within the limits of available resources.”
He said a well-resourced Secretariat would ensure that regional programmes such as the recently adopted SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap, and the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) are fully implemented for the benefit of the region.
SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Lawrence Stergomena Tax concurred, saying the Secretariat is committed to deliver and implement regional programmes in its bid to boost integration and development.
“As a resource at the disposal of SADC, we are committed to the cause of regional integration and development agenda,” she said, adding that the organization continues to make good progress in implementing various programmes, making it one of the leading regional blocs in Africa.
Some of the major milestone for the Secretariat include the launch of the SADC Free Trade Area (FTA) in 2008.
By attaining the status of the FTA, consumers in the region are now getting better products at lower prices due to increased production, while producers are benefiting from a tariff-free trade for all goods originating within the region.
On energy development, the Secretariat has facilitated the establishment of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), where regional utilities are afforded the platform to sell and buy surplus electricity from each other, thereby helping some countries to meet their growing demand for energy.
With respect to peace, the Secretariat has succeeded in consolidating peace and security in the region through various ways.
These include peace mediation in countries where there have been conflicts such as in Lesotho and Madagascar, as well as sending election observer missions, and providing troops to help SADC countries defend their sovereignty, as in the case of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1998, when some neighbouring countries tried to invade it.
The Secretariat, which is involved in the day to day running of the SADC integration agenda, has also led efforts for countries to attain 50/50 representation of gender in all decision-making positions.
The SADC Executive Secretary has two deputies, one for Regional Integration and another for Finance and Administration.
According to the revised SADC Organisational Structure that was approved in 2008, the Secretariat is arranged into eight Directorates, and eight stand-alone Units responsible for cross-cutting issues.
The eight Directorates are:
· Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation – together with the head of the Organ Troika is an instrument for ensuring and supporting the political and socio-economic security and safety of the region;
· Infrastructure and Services – tasked with improving the quality of infrastructure in the region;
· Trade, Industry, Finance an Investment – facilitates and coordinates the gradual reduction of trade restrictions and improved relations in the areas of trade and finance;
· Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources – aims to ensure food availability, access, safety and nutritional value, as well as equitable and sustainable use of the environment and natural resources;
· Social and Human Develop and Special Programmes – tasked with supporting the development of SADC’s human capital to its fullest potential as an essential step towards tackling the socioeconomic challenges facing the region;
· Policy, Planning and Resource Mobilisation – coordinates all the planning, policy development and monitoring and evaluation functions of the SADC Secretariat;
· Budget and Finance – provides financial administration and risk management services to the operations of the SADC Secretariat; and
· Human Resources and Administration – provides and support the operations of SADC Secretariat through the management of human resources, procurement of goods and services, and management of physical assets.
The SADC Units are Gender, which is tasked with mainstreaming gender perspectives and concerns in all SADC policies, plans and programmes.
Others units are Public Relations; Internal Audit; Macro-economic Convergence Surveillance; Conference Services; Procurement; Legal; and Information and Communication Technologies. – sardc.net