The Council of Ministers representing the 15-member Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) states will meet this week in Pretoria and review the progress in the bloc’s industrialisation strategy, South Africa International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Monday.
“As it has become customary to SADC, we invited you with the view to share information on the upcoming meeting of the SADC Council of Ministers scheduled to take place here in Pretoria from Tuesday to Wednesday [August 15 and 16] in preparation of the 37th Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of States and Government,” Nkoana-Mashabane said as she addressed journalists.
The Council consists of government ministers from each of the 15 member states, usually from the ministries of foreign affairs, economic planning, or finance. It meets twice a year, in February or March, and immediately prior to the Summit in August or September.
The Council of Ministers oversees the functioning and development of SADC, as a community, and ensures that policies are properly implemented.
Nkoana-Mashabane said during the Council of Ministers meeting this week, the dignitaries would endorse the theme for the forthcoming 37th Summit of Heads of State and Government, titled: “Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains”, which has been proposed by the host nation South Africa, in its capacity as the incoming chair of SADC.
“The Council will receive progress on actions undertaken by the Secretariat in implementing the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063. Council will also receive and review the proposed Milestones for Monitoring Implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap for approval by Summit,” she said.
Nkoana-Mashabane was accompanied at the Pretoria briefing by Executive Secretary of SADC, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax.
The minister said the Council would also receive reports on the findings of the exercise on profiling of the mineral and pharmaceutical sectors and identification of potential areas for the development of value chains.
“The Council will further receive progress on the operationalisation of the SADC University of Transformation, following the meeting of the Committee on Higher Education, Training and Research that met 20 March 2017. The Committee observed that the concept of the SADC University of Transformation has the potential to address the provision of appropriate skills required for value addition, in the three agreed Value Chains of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.
The Council will also receive a report on the improvement of the food security situation in the region following the climate change factors that affected the region with some of the member stares experiencing drought, while others experienced floods.
On the side of politics, defence and security, Nkoana-Mashabane said the Council of Ministers will receive 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.
So far, several meetings have taken place in Pretoria relating to the summit. These include the Standing Committee of Senior Official meeting and the Finance Committee which has also convened.
The predecessor of the SADC, the Southern African Development Co-ordination Community (SADCC) was established in 1980 in Lusaka, Zambia. In 1992, regional heads of State agreed to transform the SADCC into the SADC with a special focus on regional integration.
In celebration of the birth of SADC in 1992, the current chairperson, His Majesty King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland, will deliver the SADC Day Message for 2017.