Wednesday, August 15, 2007
By Brighton Phiri
Wednesday August 15, 2007 [04:00]
THE Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) secretariat is seeking the mandate to sign the protocol on relations between the African Union (AU) and the regional economic communities on the continent. And Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is under SADC sanctions for failing to settle its annual membership amounting to US$1,369,190. Meanwhile, foreign affairs minister Mundia Sikatana yesterday took over as chairperson for the SADC Council of Ministers.
According to the SADC draft annotated agenda presented yesterday before the SADC Council of Ministers at Lusaka's Mulungushi International Conference Centre, the SADC secretariat asked the council of ministers to mandate its Executive Secretary to sign the protocol on relationship between the AU and the regional economic communities on behalf of SADC.
"Council is invited to mandate the Executive Secretary to sign the Protocol on relationship between the African Union and the Regional communities, on behalf of SADC," read the agenda in part.
The SADC agenda further asked the Council of Ministers to recommend to the SADC head of states that the planned tripartite summit for Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC) and SADC be convened.
"Council is invited to note that COMESA, at the highest level is proposing a tripartite summit-COMESA-EAC-SADC to discuss strategic issues pertaining to the development of the three regional economic communities. Council is invited to recommend to summit that the tripartite summit be convened and SADC makes the necessary preparations," read the document.
On the SADC member states' annual contributions, the document indicated that DRC was the only country in arrears and had an outstanding pledge of US$500,000 towards the construction of the new SADC headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana.
The SADC secretariat urged the DRC to remit its arrears to facilitate the lifting of sanctions, as it would allow its full participation in the SADC affairs.
On SADC member states' contribution towards SADC food security training programme, the document named Malawi as the only country that had not remitted its contribution of US$49,000 towards the programme.
"However, Malawi indicated that it is in the process of remitting its contribution," read the document.
The SADC secretariat urged the member states to sign, ratify and accede to the SADC protocols.
The SADC secretariat asked the Council of Ministers to urge the member states to urgently implement the main power generation and transmission projects, including inter-connector projects to ensure the availability of adequate regional energy security in order to meet the projected demand.
The SADC secretariat asked the Council of Ministers to approve its recommendations, among others, that the SADC secretariat should establish a desk for tourism to co-ordinate tourism policy and regional strategic issues in with Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA) and other stakeholders.
On the regional food security, the SADC secretariat noted that the preliminary figures indicated that the number of people requiring humanitarian assistance during the 2007/08 marketing year was estimated at 3.6 million.
The document named Lesotho, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe as some countries whose citizens require humanitarian assistance.
The SADC secretariat asked the Council of Ministers to urge member states to import and export food from within the region and implement measures that would complement rain-fed agriculture and devise appropriate water management techniques.
Sikatana called for collaboration among the SADC member states because Zambia was assuming the chairmanship at a crucial time the region was working towards integration.