SADC launches 4 publications
By Magreth Nunuhe
MBABANE-SOUTHERN Africa remains energy deficient and indicators reveal that access to electricity in rural areas is below 10 percent in most SADC member states, while overall electricity access stands below 40 percent, SADC executive secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax has revealed.
On average, 75 percent of the SADC population relies on traditional biomass and other solid fuels such as coal for cooking, which have negative implications on women and children’s health as they tend to spend more time near open fires and traditional cook stoves.
“Monitoring of progress in the region’s energy generation and use is therefore very critical for the growth and sustenance of the energy sector,” Dr Tax said as she launched four SADC publications on Sunday.
The SADC publications launched on Sunday are: ‘The SADC Energy Monitor’, ‘The Sixth Edition of the SADC Gender Monitor’, ‘The Trafficking in Persons in the SADC Region, A Baseline Report’ and ‘Adding Value: A Policy Tool Box for SADC Member States to Manage Economic Transformation and Value Chain Development’.
According to Dr Tax, the ‘SADC Energy Monitor’ publication assesses progress made toward the implementation of the SADC energy commitments ensuring developments are documented and tracked, while it also presents an in-depth overview of the results of the implementation of the SADC energy policy framework.
She said that the ‘The Sixth Edition of the SADC Gender Monitor’ publication provides a report on the progress made by SADC Member States in harmonising their relevant gender policies and provides considerable evidence that mainstreaming gender makes development interventions more effective and the results benefit both men and women.
“The region recognises that gender equality is at the core of achieving the vision of its founding treaty to build a common future that will ensure economic wellbeing, improvement of the standards of living and the quality of life freedom, social justice, peace and security for the people of Southern Africa,” noted Dr Tax.
‘The Trafficking in Persons in the SADC Region, A Baseline Report’ aims to highlight the nature, extent and impacts of trafficking in persons in the SADC region and while the most vulnerable to trafficking are women and children, men are also targeted by trafficking syndicates for forced labour in mines and farms.
“This gender monitor highlights the lack of information and the need to identify demographics and characteristics of traffickers, their organisational formation and the strategies that they use to recruit, exploit and control victims and provides pointers to what needs to be done to effectively control trafficking in persons,” stressed Tax. The publication on ‘Adding Value: A Policy Tool Box for SADC Member States to Manage Economic Transformation and Value Chain Development’ provides tools and guidelines to help regional stakeholders to promote value addition with a view to increase the value of their products.
Tax said SADC has “frontloaded” industrialisation with the development of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063 in a bid to transform its economy, gain traction and ultimately create growth through wealth creation and employment and it will require innovative approaches to accelerate growth through value addition and beneficiation in order to increase the financial value of products.
“We have made significant strides in a number of areas of regional integration including energy and combating trafficking in persons, facilitating the region’s industrialisation drive with a view to accelerate economic growth and in the transformation of our economies and improve the lives of our people,” Dr Tax added.
The SADC publications were sponsored in part by the Austrian Development Cooperation, the Regional Economic Development Institute, the European Union, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC).