By Lovemore Ranga Mataire, Pretoria, South Africa
THE SADC Council of Ministers meeting which was held here on Tuesday has placed industrialisation at the centre of its agenda and reviewed progress made thus far.
In a media briefing on Monday South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said the Council of Ministers will receive progress reports on actions undertaken by the Secretariat in implementing the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063.
“As has become customary to SADC, we invited you with the view to share information on the upcoming of the SADC Council of Ministers meeting scheduled to take place here in Pretoria from Tuesday to Wednesday in preparation of the 37 Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of States and Government,” said Mashabane.
The Council of Ministers is a group ministers from the 15-member states comprising of ministers of foreign affairs, economic planning or finance.
The council usually meets twice a year in February or March, and prior to the summit in August or September.
During the Tuesday-Wednesday meetings, the council received and reviewed the proposed Milestones for Monitoring Implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap.
On politics, defence and security, the Council of Ministers received the progress made in the development of the draft Concept Paper on the SADC Peace Fund to be submitted to the next Ministerial Committee of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security for consideration. On the membership applications by the Union of Comoros and the Republic of Burundi, the Council of Ministers received the report from the meeting of the Ministerial Committee on the ORGAN (MCO) on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation held on 21 July 2017 in Dar es Salaam.
The council also received reports and decisions from the Committee of Ministers of Finance and Investment on the operationalisation of the SADC Regional Development Fund, the Regional Resource Mobilisation Framework and the Disaster Preparedness and Response Fund as part of the Social Window in the SADC Regional Development. Several meetings have so far taken place since the start of the summit on August 9. One of the critical meetings that has so far taken place is the Standing Committee on Senior Officials and the Finance Committee.
SADCC, which was formed in Lusaka, Zambia in 1980 was transformed into SADC in order to reorient it to focus on issues of regional economic integration .
In commemoration of the re-birth of the regional bloc in 1992, current chairperson His Majesty King Mswati III of Swaziland is expected to deliver the SADC message of 2017.
The official opening of the 37th SADC Ordinary Summit of Heads of States will take place on Saturday. President Jacob Zuma will assume the chairmanship of the regional body taking from King Mswati III.