Southern Africa: SADC Summit Must Challenge Rich Countries On Massive Financial Outflows From the Region

opinion

Southern African governments cannot afford to ignore $30bn losses from trade-related illicit outflows and external government debt payments.

As another Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit rolls around, human rights defenders in the region, along with their allies around the world, can be forgiven for asking a simple question: what is the point?

Certainly, SADC's performance on upholding civil and political rights is nothing other than miserable. When the intergovernmental organisation has engaged with these rights, for example in Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo, its approach has been weak and confused. In other countries beset by oppression, such as eSwatini and Zimbabwe, the organisation has not even bothered. As Peter Fabricius has argued, SADC only acts on threats to democratic governance when it believes that stability is threatened.

Sadly, President Cyril Ramaphosa has not said or done anything to suggest that he is uncomfortable with this prevailing amoral mindset. Yet it remains unclear whether or not he and other SADC leaders are prepared to work more effectively on economic and social rights.

More effective action on economic and social rights is sorely needed. In southern Africa, two million children under the age of 5 (29.3%) are stunted. There...

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