The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) budgetary allocation to peace and security increased from 14 percent to 17 percent, slightly higher than the resources allocation framework by two percent, while the allocation for programmes of regional dimension decreased from 48 percent to 35 percent the same period.
This was revealed by Sadc Executive Secretary Stergomena Lawrence Tax on Friday during the Sadc Council of Ministers meeting held in Windhoek.
The main objective of the Council meeting was to receive a report on implementation of the 2018-19 corporate plan and budget, and deliberated on the proposed plan and budget for the 2019/20 fiscal year.
Tax said in terms of progress, she reported that during the nine months period from April to December 2018, performance stood at 77 percent with a budget utilisation of 76 percent.
Further, she noted focus during the year under review remained on fostering industrialisation. She said a number of activities that are in line with the Sadc industrialisation pillars namely; industrialisation, competiveness, regional integration, and cross cutting issues, as well as programmes in support of industrialisation were implemented successfully.
Moreover, Tax said an analysis of the plan and budget indicates improvements in aligning budget allocations to the Sadc resource framework.
Therefore, allocation for industrial development, market integration and infrastructure increased from 38 percent in 2015/16 to 48 percent in 2018/19, which is slightly lower than the resource allocation frameworks by two percent.
"The Secretariat will continue to ensure that the resource allocation framework is adhered to, and that the available resources are allocated in line with Sadc priorities, and will be utilized prudently," she pledged.
However, she said after experiencing robust economic growth prior to the global financial and economic crisis of 2008/09, economic growth in the region has slowed down, thus compromising macroeconomic convergence.
According to her, huge disparities remain in the region in terms of income, with about half of member states having a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita below U$1. She emphasized inclusivity also remains a challenge in the region, saying the structures of the economies remain undiversified with a growing resource-based and stagnant manufacturing sector.
In addition, she noted the goods market in the region remains small, while intra-Sadc trade is increasing at a slow pace. The regions' total trade with the world remains small at between 15 percent and 21 percent.
"This points to the need to intensify implementation of the Sadc Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap, by ensuring that all interventions in the three pillars of the industrialisation strategy which aims to accelerate economic growth through technological and economic transformation, and as such enhance comparative and competitive advantage of our economies are implemented in a synergetic manner," Tax said.
On food security, she said unpredictable weather patterns and adverse climatic conditions continue to stifle regional efforts to ensure sustainable food self-sufficiency. She says predications indicate that the Sadc region will receive normal to below normal rainfall between October 2018 and March 2019.
This she said is likely to have a negative impact on the 2019 crop yield, resulting in food shortages for many households, particularly as the majority of citizens depend on rain-fed agriculture.
However, she promised the Secretariat continues to monitor the region's food and nutrition security through the regional and national early warning systems and vulnerability assessments, and a comprehensive report will be submitted to Council during its sitting in August 2019.
Member states are encouraged to continue promoting innovative farming practices, and adopting technologies that will sustain yields during erratic rains, while also helping farmers to cope with the impacts of droughts.
Meanwhile, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah on Saturday shared the outcomes of the Sadc Council of Ministers meeting which they hosted since Friday in Windhoek.
She said Council successfully deliberated on several issues of importance that are aimed at fostering regional economic growth and development, peace and security, and regional integration in relation to our priority programmes contained in the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2015-2020; the Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ (SIPO II); and the Sadc Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063.
She added Council, further, received progress on operationalisation of the theme for the 38th Sadc Summit which is: Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development.
On the proposed transformation of the Sadc Parliamentary Forum into a Sadc Parliament, Council directed the Secretariat to constitute a Task Force comprising of Double Troika Members, supported by the Sadc Secretariat and the Sadc Parliamentary Forum Secretariat to carry out a thorough analysis on the transformation of the Sadc Parliamentary Forum and advice on governance among other issues.