The implementation of the Southern African Development Community integration agenda and objectives, as outlined in the SADC Treaty, has progressed well, despite some challenges.
This was the view of SADC chairperson Hage Geingob when he presented a report on the status of integration in the regional bloc at an African continental free trade area (AfCTA) first mid-year coordination meeting in Niamey, Niger, on Monday.
This was the 12th extraordinary session of the assembly of the African Union on the AfCTA.
"SADC has been successful at many levels and across a wide range of areas relating to regional cooperation and integration," Geingob stated.
He said at continental level, the current situation of overlapping mandates and duplication of efforts among regional economic communities (RECs) and between RECs and the African Union undermines progress, and needs to be resolved as a precondition to accelerate continental integration.
"There is a need for absolute clarity of roles and responsibilities between the AU and RECs, and the principle of subsidiarity should provide the basis for the effective division of labour, bearing in mind the financial challenges being faced by member states," he added.
Geingob said member states should direct and take ownership of the formulation of policies and programmes at regional and continental level with a view to ensuring value for money.
He noted that for Africa, a vast continent of over 1,2 billion people, integration has considerable potential, not only for promoting robust and equitable economic growth, but also for reducing conflicts, and promoting sustainable peace and stability.
"Therefore, I call upon all member states to redouble their efforts in regional and continental commitments, and reap the fruits of integration," he urged.
Geingob said for the coordination meeting to be more effective, more time should be allocated to presentations and discussions on reports on the status of integration by RECs.
"Issues that require attention should be clearly highlighted and presented by the AU for consideration and decision by the coordination meeting," he continued.