The SADC Council of Ministers virtually met yesterday and called for homegrown solutions to problems facing the region such as Covid-19.
The Zimbabwean delegation was led by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Acting Minister, Professor Amon Murwira. Other ministers whoattended the meeting are Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza and Health and Child Care the Deputy Minister, Dr John Mangwiro.
Apart from deliberating on Covid-19, the meeting also discussed the regional security situation, disaster risk management response, the implementation of decisions of previous councils and summits, as well as the recruitment of the next executive secretary.
In a communique issued after the day-long meeting that was chaired by Mozambique Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Minister Verónica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo, the regional bloc said there is need to come up with initiatives that tackle emerging challenges in SADC.
“Council directed the Expanded Technical Committee for Coordinating and Monitoring the Implementation of the SADC Protocol on Health to continue monitoring the Covid-19 situation and provide timely advice, and to analyse the current Covid-19 situation in the African context and provide home-grown solutions.
“On a related matter, council approved the proposal by Mozambique to hold the face to face meeting of the SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government in May or June 2021 to consider its detailed agenda, if the Covid-19 situation is contained,” read the statement in part.
Minister Dlhovo called for timely and efficient implementation of the decisions taken by the Council of Ministers for the SADC region to continue to be a peaceful, prosperous and relevant player in international relations.
The chairperson of council said, as a commitment towards disaster management and response, she welcomes the trust bestowed upon Mozambique to host the SADC Humanitarian and Emergency Operations Centre (SHOC), which will be responsible for facilitating enhanced regional disaster risks preparedness, response and early recovery to support member states affected by disasters.
The executive secretary of SADC, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, indicated a number of achievements recorded in the SADC’s drive towards deepening regional integration.
Dr Tax said a total of 1 995 355 transactions were settled through the SADC Real Time Gross Settlement System as of December 2020, representing the value of ZAR7.81 trillion since July 2013 when the system went live.
On regional infrastructure development, Dr Tax highlighted that a total of 63 regional Infrastructure projects, including 17 regional energy projects were developed under the second Priority Action Plan for Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA PAP 2), the African Union continental strategic infrastructure framework, whereby three of the 17 projects were shortlisted, namely Luapula Hydro-power between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia; Baynes Hydro-power between Namibia and Angola; and Zizabona electricity interconnector between Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In a bid to accelerate regional industrialisation and infrastructure development, Dr Tax called for speedy implementation of the SADC Regional Development Fund; enhancement of capacities and capabilities of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for SADC citizens to realise employment and wealth creation benefits