THE SOUTHERN AFRICA DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY (SADC)
SADC is an intergovernmental organization which constitutes some states from Eastern Central and Southern Africa. Previously the community was known as Southern Africa development coordination conference (SADCC) which came into account as the result of declaration put at Lusaka in 1980.
At the time, composed some countries from central, Southern and Eastern Africa such as Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Botswana, Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. The Southern development community (SADC) therefore came into existence in April 1993 to replace the former Southern African Coordination Conference (SADCC).
Some members who were in SADCC continued to be in the new SADC and included countries such as Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Zambia, Angola, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mauritius, South Africa which joined dafter her independence, Namibia and Seychelles (James ,op cit. 2005: 71). The formation of SADC targeted an integration of all members toward addressing social, economic and political problems.
Objectives of Southern African Development Community
The following were objectives of the Southern African Development Community.
To improve transport and communication within the members states. Most of the SADC members have seasonal roads, besides, some are landlocked countries henceforth the road transportation becomes difficult especially during the rain seasons. The communication is also a problem because there is no communication means covering the whole region. But, however, currently the telecommunication company like Airtel and Vodacom cover almost the whole region; also the West Union money transfer has lessened the problem.
To reduce dependence on developed nations, since from independence many SADC countries continued to depend on donors and World finance institution such as International Monetary Fund (IFM) and World Bank. Thus, the donors and World financial institutions have been giving their loans under conditions to the third world countries, besides the social, economic and political decisions have been given by western nations. Henceforth, the community was formed to reduce this dependence and hence avoid interference by Western countries.
To promote peace and security among the member states. Because peace and security induces the movement of people investment and so forth. Therefore SADC members agreed each other to make efforts on maintaining peace and security.
To develop agriculture and industries. These sectors of economy have close interdependence. Therefore by improving these sectors could improve the economy of the SADC members and reduction in the level of poverty facing them.
To promote International cooperation for the purpose of addressing socio-economic as well as political matters. International cooperation is very vital in improving the SADC members’ economies, political, social and science and technology.
To utilize the regional natural resources such as land, water, forest, Wild life for the benefit of the people and protection of the environment.
Economic growth, alleviation of poverty and promote standard of living of the people in the member states.
To develop own experts and personnel in different areas of specialization such as agriculture, medicine, wildlife and industries. This would reduce dependence to the Western experts.
To improve the social and historical linkage through improving transport and communication, agriculture and industries and use of alternative energy source for benefit of the people in the member states.
PRINCIPLES OF SADC
- Respect of sovereign equality of all members states.
- Solidarity between members, peace and security
- Respect of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
- Balanced and mutual benefits to all members
- Peaceful settlement of conflicts.
Organs/structure of the community
The SADC has got the following organs:
Summit of Heads of states.
The summits of heads of state elect the chairperson of the community. The chairs person is the senior leader of the community. The summit of the Heads of states meets annually.
Works in the secretariat to coordinate and manage all programs of SADC from the headquarter in Gaborone, Botswana. Up until 2004 the executive secretary was Dr. Prega Ramsay.
Council of Ministers.
Organ on politics, defense and security which deal with maintain peace and order, stopping crimes and monitoring and observing general election in the member states.
Achievements of SADC
Since its inaugural many achievements have attained, these include the following:
It has provided a room for discussion and solving the social, economic and political problems for example the problem of political instability in Zimbabwe and political conflicts in DRC.
It has widened the market of goods produced in the region instead of dependence to the western market.
SADC programs of Action enabled members to undertake project which rehabilitate roads, railways like TAZARA and water ways to easy trading activities among the people.
The members have been able to carry out collective research of the best seeds which can be planted by the people in different climatic conditions to produce product for their daily food and cash crops needs. The action has improved and promoted high production in agriculture.
It has corporate with other regional grouping such as ECOWAS, EAC, COMESA – and other to build the strong unity and solidarity among the African states.
It has induced the movement of goods, people and capital across the borders of the member states.
Problems/ Challenges facing SADC
Besides of its success there are also some problems which are still facing the community as follow:-
Many countries within the region still suffering from dependence syndrome to the donors and world financial institutions. This has facilitated the exploitation and operation of neo-colonialism.
Shortage of fund is a serious economic problem. Majority of its members do not have adequate fund to contribute to various programs of SADC, development sectors such as regional transport and communication, training of manpower and natural resources have taken long time without realization
The presence of civil wars and conflicts. The political instabilities have affected many nations including DRC, Angola and Zimbabwe. Multiple memberships which reduces the commitment to SADC. For example some countries who are the member of SADC are also the members of the communities such as EAC, COMESA and African Union (AU).
Different level of development. Some SADC members are very rich such as Southern African and recently Zimbabwe but others are very poor such as Tanzania, Mozambique and Malawi. The richer countries export more in poor nations, besides acts as sole decision makers of the community.
Many SADC members produce similar crops which keep fluctuating in the World market, all SADC member are found in almost the same climatic conditions and henceforth produce the same cash crops like sisal, coffee, tea, cotton and sugar cane which compete for same market. Consequently their crops are bought at very low prices.
SADC is still suffering from lack of qualified human capital and experts like doctors, engineers and so forth. Thus, many members are sill importing experts from western nations and some Asian nations. Besides, many experts produced by SADC countries runs away to work in other nations and hence weaken the socio-economic development of SADC.
Different in currency, members have different currencies which make money transaction difficult.
Diseases like HIV/ AIDS and Ebola also pose great challenge to the progress of SADC as they cause deaths of many people in the community, and hence the community spends a lot of funds to combat the diseases and to conduct researches on the causes, factors for their spread and treatment.
However, SADC members are still having an opportunity to eradicate the above problems for a smooth development. What is needed is to be committed in implementation of its objectives, acquisition of technology, utilization of resources and reduce dependency to Western nations.