Three Cabinet ministers and a deputy minister are this week expected to attend a crucial Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) meeting which will discuss key issues confronting the region including the Covid-19 pandemic, security issues and the recruitment of the next executive secretary.
The virtual Sadc Council of Ministers meeting scheduled for Friday and Saturday will also deliberate on the proposed transformation of the Sadc Parliamentary Forum into a parliament, disaster risk management response and the implementation of decisions of previous councils and summits.
Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Professor Amon Murwira will lead Zimbabwe’s delegation during the two-day indaba.
He will be joined by Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza and the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro.
The ministers meeting will be preceded by the Standing Committee of senior officials meeting which started yesterday and ends on Thursday.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade spokesperson Mrs Constance Chemwai said the Council of Ministers meeting was also expected to consider a number of other issues among them the status of the region’s finances and approval of the 2021/2022 budget.
The Finance Committee meeting will be held tomorrow.
“Zimbabwe’s effective participation in the above-mentioned meetings is key to the realisation of the country’s foreign policy objectives, particularly relating to the region’s development and integration agenda,” said Mrs Chemwai.
There would also be a review of the SADC’s institutional arrangements and ongoing activities to commemorate Sadc’s 40th anniversary.
Apart from seeking a replacement for the outgoing executive secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, the regional body is also looking at recruiting the deputy head of the secretariat.
Mozambican Foreign Minister Verónica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo, will preside over the meetings in her capacity as the chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers and will be supported by Dr Tax.
“The council of Ministers meeting will, among other issues, discuss the Implementation Plan of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP 2020-30), the Covid-19 situation in the region, progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS, progress in the implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063).
The Council of Ministers is an institution spelt out in Article 11 of the Sadc Treaty and is responsible for, among other things, overseeing the functioning and development of Sadc, approving policies, strategies and programmes of Sadc as well as advising the Summit of Heads of State and Government on matters of overall policy.
The Council consists of ministers from each of the 16 member States; usually from the ministries responsible for Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Economic Planning or Finance.