Maputo — Mozambican Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi on Friday called for “revitalising the strategy for the regional integration of SADC (Southern African Development Community)”, in order to give the region a long term development vision.
He was speaking in Maputo at the opening of a two day session of the SADC Council of Ministers, currently chaired by Mozambique.
Baloi stressed in particular the importance of developing infrastructure in the region. He regarded infrastructure development as perhaps the most important instrument for achieving the objectives of this regional organisation.
He recalled that the Maputo SADC heads of state summit held in August 2012 had approved the establishment of a Regional Master Plan for the Development of Infrastructures. Preparations were now under way for a high level conference on investment in infrastructures that will also be held in Maputo. This conference will discuss projects contained in the Master Plan, particularly the priorities listed in the Short Term Action Plan (STAP).
Also in hand are preparations for a meeting in London next Wednesday, which will publicise the priority projects in the plan, with a view to mobilising resources for their implementation. “We expect to obtain encouraging results”, declared Baloi.
Baloi stressed the importance of putting into operation a Regional Development Fund, as a mechanism that can mobilise resources from the SADC member states, private business and development partners. This fund will “support the development and deepening of regional integration”, Baloi said.
He described cooperation with the European Union as “one of the key instruments for pursuing the goals of SADC”. Baloi stressed the conclusion, in December 2012, of all 17 projects financed by the Ninth European Development Fund (EDF). As for the Tenth EDF, the projects submitted have been approved, and they are expected to begin this year.
One of the ways of monitoring cooperation with the European Union was through “political dialogue”, said Baloi. He announced that a further session of SADC-EU political dialogue will take place in Maputo on 20 March.