The European Union (EU) has approved 36 million euro in grants to support regional integration in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Support will be provided to enhance regional integration and development, and to further develop the institutional capacity of SADC Secretariat as well as Member States, including civil society. The signature of three agreements on 7 November marks a further important milestone in the long history of EU-SADC co-operation.
The component in support of Regional Political Co-operation amounting to 18 million euro will strengthen the capacity of SADC to perform its mandate in the area of politics, governance, peace and security in the region. The Institutional Capacity Development Programme for 12 million euro will focus on the strengthening of the capacity of SADC Secretariat to promote equitable economic growth and sustainable socio-economic development in SADC's fifteen member countries. The third component, a Technical Cooperation Facility for 6 million euro will contribute to improve the coordination, harmonisation and development of national-regional linkages.
The Agreements were signed by Dr Tomáz Augusto Salomão, SADC Executive Secretary and Ambassador Gerard McGovern, Head of the European Union Delegation to Botswana and SADC.
According to Dr Salomão the event signifies "an important milestone in the bilateral relations between SADC and the EU and in the advancement of development cooperation for the SADC as one of the three agreements is the first contribution agreement between SADC and the EU". In his view, "the move towards the contribution agreement modality shows a deeper commitment of the European Union to reinforce SADC's ownership, systems, capacity development and aid effectiveness". Dr Salomão thanked the EU for its support to the SADC Region over the years, notably through the 8th, 9th and now the 10th EDF.
Upon signing the Agreements, Ambassador McGovern stated that "despite the economic situation in the European Union, it was important that the EU keeps its promise towards partners like SADC. The EU has learned many lessons in its integration experience and is happy to share these experiences with countries on the African continent and beyond". He added, "by working together the countries of Southern Africa can ensure an environment of peace and security thereby creating the conditions for prosperity for all".