15 August 2012

Southern Africa: SADC Council of Ministers Meets

Photo: Evan Bench
Looking out over Johannesburg from Braamfontein. Nelson Mandela bridge over the train station. CBD in the background

Maputo — The SADC (Southern African Development Community) Council of Ministers began a two day meeting in Maputo on Wednesday, in preparation for the heads of state summit scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

The outgoing chairperson of the Council, Angolan Planning Minister Ana Dias Lourenco, said the Angolan presidency of SADC over the past year had concentrated on "the development of infrastructures to facilitate trade and economic liberalization".

"We concentrated our interventions on three fundamental fronts", she said, "namely, strengthening the institutional capacity of the SADC secretariat; revising the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP); and financing the development of infrastructures, as an important pillar of regional integration".

The RISDP is the SADC road map for the agenda of regional integration, with the key goal of accelerating the eradication of poverty throughout southern Africa.

Lourenco also stressed the approval, by a ministerial committee from the relevant sectors, of a master plan for infrastructures, including a preliminary list of priority projects that require funding.

She added that SADC has approved the strategy for mobilising resources, and laid the bases for putting into operation the organisation's development fund, which she regarded as a fundamental financial instrument for implementing key projects and programmes in the region.

Mozambique now takes over the rotating presidency of SADC, and so Lourenco handed over the chairing of the meeting to Mozambican Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi.

The meeting should adopt a statement on Thursday which will be presented to the heads of state.

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