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Appendix 2B: Southern African Development Community

Historical development


The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is an organisation of eleven independent states of Southern Africa, namely: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

SADC is a decentralised organisation with a small secretariat based in Gaborone, Botswana. Each member state is given a specific sector to coordinate through a Sector Coordinating Unit which is part of its government structure.

Table 2B-1 SADC basic economic indications



(US$, 1990)

(US$ billion)








1,6 (1989)




0,3 (1989)




1,5 (1989)




1,1 (1989)





South Africa

40,3 (1994)


117,5 (1993)




0,7 (1989)




2,8 (1989)




4,8 (1989)


10,5 (1992)



Sources: SADC '94 Official Summit Brochure
SADC: Regional Relations and Cooperation Post Apartheid

SADC is funded through contributions from Member States, income from its enterprises and receipts from regional and non-regional resources. The Secretariat and Commissions are jointly funded by Member States on an equal basis. The SADC also receives income from its investments. Sector Coordinating Units are funded by the hosting Governments while specific projects are donor funded.

Historical development

In May 1979 Foreign Ministers of Frontline States met in Gaborone to discuss economic cooperation. They agreed to convene a conference in Arusha (Tanzania) with donor Governments and International Development Institutions to discuss a regional programme of economic development in Southern Africa. In July 1979 the Arusha Conference provided these states with an opportunity to explain to potential international cooperating partners the main parameters of such cooperation and the policy assumptions on which the cooperation was being constructed. The conference also agreed that other majority ruled countries of Southern Africa should be invited to participate in the drawing up of the Lusaka Declaration on Southern African Development Coordination Conference.

The Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC), was established on April 11980, when nine Heads of State or Government of majority ruled states of Southern Africa adopted the Lusaka Declaration - Southern Africa: Towards Economic Liberation. The founder Member States were Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Namibia became the tenth member upon the attainment of its independence in 1990.

The now SADC, a descendant of SADCC, was established on 17th August 1992 when the ten Member States signed the Declaration, Treaty and Protocol in Windhoek, Namibia. The Treaty was ratified by Member States in September, 1993. The Declaration and Treaty effectively launched a scheme of economic integration. SADC graduated from an informal club (SADCC) - established by a legal organisation/community (with provisions for binding rules and regulations) in which Member States, through appropriate institutions of SADC, coordinate, rationalise and harmonise their overall macroeconomic and sector policies and strategies, programmes and projects in the areas of cooperation. South Africa became the eleventh member in August 1994 following the attainment of its independence earlier in the year.


The transformation of SADC from a loose organisational set up to an economic community was due to changed circumstances and reorientation of the original objectives which were:-

· the reduction of economic dependence, particularly, but not only, on the then apartheid ruled South Africa

· the forging of links to create a genuine and equitable regional integration

· the mobilisation of resources to promote the implementation of national, interstate and regional policies and,

· concerted action to secure international cooperation within the framework of the strategy for economic liberation.

One of the weaknesses of SADC was its inability to mobilise the regional business community and professional associations in the implementation of its programmes. Since April 1980 the organisation had been largely a mere forum of State bureaucrats and technocrats - pushing their countries projects for funding - rather than an instrument of popular participation in the economic development of the region.

The rationale for launching SADC lies in the following:-

· the continuing search for an organisational structure that would facilitate the translation of political independence into economic independence

· the continuing dependence on the export of a few raw materials

· the small size of Member States' economies and low incomes which make it difficult for them to individually attract and sustain the necessary investment for development and growth and restructuring at higher levels of efficiency and productivity

· the inadequate socio-economic infrastructure and the high per capita cost of providing this infrastructure on account of the small size of their economies.

· the political geography of Southern Africa makes the majority of the countries of the region landlocked, thereby necessitating their closer collaboration with coastal states and,

· the growing gap between African countries and middle - and high income countries. The findings of the 1967 United Nations/Economic Commission for Africa (UN/ECA) study on economic development prospects in Africa continue to show no sign of abating, or for that matter reducing. The study concluded that it would take at least 273 years for African countries, and 343 years to catch up with high income countries.

Experiences in African countries have shown that instead of reducing, the gap may have even widened

· 12 years' experience of regional cooperation under SADCC

· the political developments in South Africa towards majority rule

· the peace process underway in civil strife torn Angola and Mozambique

· the need to establish and maintain peace in the region in order to minimise the threat of conflict and to reduce the defence expenditure

· the re-emergence of multi-party politics in the region

· the re-introduction of market oriented economic systems aimed at restructuring heavily government controlled economies. (This is likely to stimulate foreign interest in the region and perhaps lead to investment) and,

· the world seems to be edging towards protectionism and isolationism as evidenced by the various and major trading blocs such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, the European Union, the Economic Community of West African States, etc.


The specific objectives of SADC are to:-

· evolve common political values, systems and institutions

· promote and defend peace and security

· promote self-sustaining development on the basis of collective self-reliance and the interdependence of Member States

· achieve complementarity between national and regional strategies and programmes

· promote and maximise productive employment and utilisation of resources of the region

· achieve sustainable utilisation of natural resources and effective protection of the environment and,

· strengthen and consolidate the long standing historical, social and cultural affinities and links among the peoples of the region.

The summit of heads of state or government: The summit consists of heads of state or Government of all Member States and is the supreme policy making institution of the SADC. The summit elects a chairman and vice chairman of SADC from among its members for a 3 year period, on a rotational basis; however, the summit has retained Botswana as chairman since the inception of the then SADCC in 1980. It decides on the creation of commissions, other institutions, committees and organs as the need arises, and appoints the executive secretary and his deputy on the recommendation of the council of ministers. It meets once a year and, unless otherwise provided for in the SADC Treaty, its decisions are by consensus and are binding.

The council or ministers: The council consists of one minister from each member state, preferably a minister responsible for economic planning or finance. It meets at least once a year and is responsible to the summit for overall implementation, coordination and supervision of SADC's activities, such as approving programmes and projects for SADC, designating member states to coordinate activities in the various sectors, appointing its committees as necessary, directing, coordinating and supervising the operations of SADC institutions subordinate to it, and convening conferences and other meetings as appropriate. The chairman and vice chairman of the council are appointed by the member states holding the chairmanship and vice chairmanship of SADC, respectively. Decisions of the council are by consensus.

Organisational structure

The SADC structure is shown in figure 2B-1

Figure 2B-1 SADC organisational structure

Commission: Commission are constituted to guide and coordinate cooperation and integration policies and programmes in designated sectoral areas. The composition, powers, functions, procedures and other matters related to each commission are prescribed by an appropriate protocol approved by the summit. Commissions work closely with the secretariat, but are responsible and report to the council. They are jointly funded by member states on an equal basis. So far, there are only two commissions; the Southern African Transport and Communication Commission (SATCC) based in Mozambique and the Southern African Centre for Cooperation in Agricultural Research (SACCAR) based in Botswana.

The standing committee of officials: The standing committee consists of senior civil servants from each member state, preferably from the Ministry responsible for economic planning or finance. It is a technical advisory committee to the council and is responsible and reports to it. It meets at least once a year and its decisions are by consensus. The chairman and vice chairman of the standing committee is appointed by the member states holding the chairmanship and vice chairmanship of the council, respectively.

The secretariat: The secretarial is the principal executive institution of SADC and is responsible for strategic planning and management of SADC programmes; implementation of decisions of the summit and council; organisation and management of SADC meetings; financial and general administration; representation and promotion of SADC; and coordination and harmonisation of the policies and strategies of member states. The Secretariat is headed by the executive secretary appointed by the summit and responsible to the council. The executive secretary is appointed for four years and may be eligible for appointment for another period not exceeding four years.

The tribunal: The tribunal is constituted to ensure adherence to and proper interpretation of the provisions of the SADC Treaty and subsidiary instruments and to adjudicate upon such disputes as may be referred to it. The composition, powers, functions, procedures and other related matters governing the tribunal are prescribed in a protocol adopted by the summit. Its members are appointed for a specified period and its decisions are final and binding.

Cooperation with the international community

SADC seeks cooperation from the international community in the implementation of its regional programme towards the achievement of its priorities and objectives. To this end, SADC holds an annual consultative conference with cooperating Governments and international agencies. At the conference, cooperating partners are updated on progress in regional cooperation, projects are presented for financial support, and problems and bottlenecks are ironed out. SADC has benefitted considerably from its decisions to develop an open and friendly dialogue with the international community. The United Nations General Assembly granted international recognition of the organisation in its Resolution 37/248 adopted on 21 December 1982.

The SADC programme of action

The programme of action comprises of programmes and projects in several sectors. Once a programme is prepared and approved, the regional projects are, where necessary, presented to SADC's cooperating partners at the annual consultative conference. If a cooperating partner expresses interest in a project, it becomes the primary responsibility of the country or countries directly involved and assisted by the sector coordinator, to negotiate with the donor and implement the project. The SADC commissions and committees help to define regional priorities, assist in mobilising resources, and to maximise the regional impact of projects.

Industry and trade

The Industry and trade sector is coordinated by Tanzania. It promotes viable regional industries, based on domestic and regional raw materials, and with access to the regional market. The sector has also identified a number of specific macroeconomic policies for consideration by national governments which aim to promote increased production and investment, improve efficiency, and boost intra-regional trade. The main focus of SADC policy is to develop existing industrial capacity and, at the same time, to fully utilise the local resources.

Large scale projects considered include fertiliser plants, iron and steel mills and manufacturing industries. Emphasis is also being placed on creating an enabling environment for industrial development. Technical studies have sought to find ways of removing barriers to investment such as exchange controls, bureaucratic red tape and the differing investment policies and codes of the member states.

On the trade side, SADC is in the process of developing a programme. Studies are being carried out to look at trade flows within the region and how intra-trade can be facilitated. Infra-regional trade currently accounts for a mere 5 percent of total trade in the region. The sector aims to address the fundamental areas of institutional structures, which commodities are needed, which preferences can be implemented and at what levels. Table 2B-2 shows intra - regional trade.

Table 2B-2 SADC: Intra-regional trade








Botswana (US$ million)





Lesotho ('000 Maloti)





Malawi (US$ million)





Mozambique (US$'000)





Swaziland ('000 Emalangeni)





Zambia (US$ million)





Zimbabwe (US$ million)





Source: SADC: Regional Relations and Cooperation Post - Apartheid

Transport and communications

The sector is coordinated by Mozambique under the auspices of the Southern Africa Transport and Communication Commission (SATCC). It has been focusing on the rehabilitation and development of the regional transport and communications infrastructure in the region, acting as a broker for investment as well as coordinating programmes of action. The unit has been mobilising funds for investment in the sub-sectors of road and transport, railways, civil aviation, ports and shipping, postal services, meteorological services and telecommunications. As of August 1994, SATCC had 220 projects at an estimated cost of US$7 billion of which US$3 billion had been secured.

SATCC is also at the forefront of encouraging programmes dealing with restructuring and commercialisation of the sector through seminars. Protocol development is expected to commence in the last quarter of 1994.

Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR)

A new strategy for FANR was adopted in 1993 and is made up of three major cross cutting programmes, namely:- food security, agricultural development and natural resources development. Responsibility for overall coordination of the sector is based in Zimbabwe. Implementation of sector specific programmes is the responsibility of the eight sector coordinating units which are grouped together under the FANR programme.

Food security

This sector is coordinated by Zimbabwe and aims to increase regional food availability and to enhance the capacity of the people in the SADC region to acquire enough food for a healthy diet. The sector's activities are divided into four interlinked groups, i.e.

· the generation and exchange of information: to this end the sector operates regional early warning and remote sensing systems, nutritional surveillance, and migrant pests control through regional information projects;

· food policy analysis and research

· promotion of improved food availability and,

· promotion of improved food access.

Agriculture research

The sector is coordinated by Botswana through the Southern African Centre for Cooperation in Agriculture Research (SACCAR). SACCAR is a commission established in 1985 to coordinate regional efforts in the field of agricultural research. The sector has undertaken a variety of projects, including improving sorghum and millet crops, legumes and land water management. The programme aims to:-

· strengthen national agricultural research systems

· promote the interchange and utilisation of scientific and technical information

· generate new technologies needed by farmers to raise the productivity of food and non-food crops, livestock, fisheries and forestry

· promote dissemination of available technology

· promote studies into common problems and,

· provide regional support services.

Projects underway include studies to improve:-

· production methods in sorghum and millet at Matopos in Zimbabwe
· groundnuts at the Chidesa Research Station in Malawi
· cowpeas in Mozambique
· land and water management at Sebele College in Botswana and,
· regional plant genetic resources at a centre in Zambia.

The sorghum and millet project has trained 100 peoples to degree level, several thousand technicians and several improved varieties of the crops have been released to farmers.

Livestock production and animal disease control

The sector is coordinated by Botswana and is working on projects in the areas of animal disease control, animal production and drought management. One of the main areas of regional cooperation is the Foot and Mouth Disease Project under which researchers around the region gather information on the disease, its economic impact and how it is kept in check in the member states. Since March 1994 the Foot and Mouth Projects in Angola, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe are being funded by the EU.

A second regional cooperation project is based in Malawi where researchers are working on a vaccine for East Coast Fever. A coordination centre has also been established in Zimbabwe to distribute the vaccine to end users.

A tsetse control project conducted by SADC has been one of the most successful projects in Africa. The project in Zimbabwe is developing simple, innovative methods which are cheap and easy on the environment.

Other projects in the pipeline include:- a rabies control programme and a regional tsetse control project based in Zambia which will provide manpower training for persons working in the field.

Marine fisheries and resources

This sector is coordinated by Namibia and generally aims at the sustainable exploitation of the marine fisheries resources. The sector has identified regional needs in training and institutional capacity building, marine research and resource assessment, surveillance and control, fish handling, processing and quality control, and distribution and marketing. The objectives of specific regional marine fisheries programmes aim at maximising sustainable yields, securing fish supply as food and significantly increasing the industry's contribution to the GNP.

Inland fisheries, forestry and wildlife

The sector is coordinated by Malawi and aims to develop the region's vast resources of flora and fauna. A total of five projects have been fully implemented of which 40 approved projects are in the pipeline at an estimated cost of US$260 million.

Environment and land management

The sector is coordinated by Lesotho and its main focus of activity has been studies in water resources management and environment and land management. The sector has been successful in involving communities at grass roots level in environmental awareness. Extensive work has been done on the sustainable use of water resources and on shared water systems. The sector is also developing projects and regional programmes of action to deal with desertification, conservation and sustainable utilisation of natural resources.


The mining sector is coordinated by Zambia and, since its inception in 1984, has successfully collected geological and mining data on which investment decisions are being based. Completed projects undertaken by the sector include a detailed feasibility study on the exploitation of the Mulanje Bauxite deposit in Malawi, and the market survey of soda ash which contributed to the finalisation of the investment decision which has seen the opening of the soda ash Botswana project.

The sector has been considerably successful in the development of the small scale mining industry through a study on the Investment Climate in Small and Medium Scale Mining which has resulted in most member states reviewing their legislation in order to create an enabling environment.

The total mining sector programme is made up of 30 projects which will cost US$28 million.


The sector, coordinated by Angola, has several sub-sectors covering electricity, petroleum, oil and gas, wood fuel, new and renewable sources of energy, coal, and energy conservation. The electricity sub-sector, the core of the sector's programme, has successfully interconnected electricity supply among Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia, and is now concentrating on connecting Southern Angola and Northern Namibia. Namibia is also importing electricity from Zambia to service the Caprivi Strip. The rehabilitation of Cabora Bassa Power Station is underway. Tanzania and Malawi have an ongoing project to share power along the borders. The ultimate aim is to have an integrated regional power grid with all the member states interconnected. The Kafue Gorge Station in Zambia, which was destroyed by fire, has also been rehabilitated.

Other areas being worked on in the electricity sub-sector include: rural electrification, specialists training in electrical power, computerisation of operational centres in each country and maintenance training for power stations.

The petroleum, oil and gas sub-sector has seen limited activity; the only major project undertaken is the SADC Joint Petroleum Exploration Programme intended to improve member states geological data bases and to evaluate individual countries' petroleum potential.

In the wood fuel sub-sector, the main focus has been on studies to assess its impact on the environment.

In the new and renewable sources of energy sub-sector, Botswana is the only country which has made extensive use of solar heating. The viability of utilising wind power and solar photovoltaic power is also being looked into.

The coal cub-sector has focused on manpower development and training. A Coal Distribution Yard and Information Centre has been set up in Botswana and its findings will be applied to other member states.

Human resources development

The sector, coordinated by Swaziland, is a vital part of the SADC Programme of Action as all sectors depend on trained personnel to carry out projects and activities. It focuses on providing leadership training and developing special courses for specific groups in the other sectors. The sector has produced a Directory of Regional Training Institutions which has been updated annually since 1987. The sector has been running a language training programme to teach English and Portuguese, the official languages of SADC.

Culture and information

The sector, established in 1991 and coordinated by Mozambique, aims to promote a greater awareness of the region's cultural heritage.

Its activities include:-

· organising general support to the coordinating unit through discussions with donors.
· the establishment of a data bank for cultural organisations, languages and other related items.
· the SADC Arts and Festival to run from 1995.
· tourism.

The sector, coordinated by Lesotho, is working towards the completion of its long term development strategy which ultimately will see a fully integrated tourism industry in Southern Africa. The Tourism Development Programme is divided into four components, namely:-

· Tourism product development
· Tourism research and marketing
· Tourism services and
· Human resources development and training.


The countries of Southern Africa are bound together by cultural and political affinitives which have in the past enabled them to intervene to solve internal conflicts in individual countries. The signing of the SADC Treaty gave the organisation a legal status that its predecessor did not have, giving it some amount of leverage in its negotiations with cooperating governments and international donor institutions,


Problems facing integration of key sectors and services in the region stem from the fact that member states depend very heavily on the exports of primary commodities to and imports of industrial products from, developed market economies. Other problems include:-

· the lack of appropriate technology for the production of mass consumer goods

· the paucity of technical expertise and trained personnel in management and entrepreneurial skills

· different and often inadequate provision of staff and other resources for the coordination and management of the regional programme, leading to inequitable distribution of responsibilities and obligations to the organisation

· the economic disparities and inequities among Member States, particularly with respect to South Africa

· lack of policy measures focused on the removal of constraints such as lack of information, supply and demand divergence in national economies; tariff and non-tariff barriers

· low growth of trade between Member States

· heavy external debt

· the imposition of structural adjustment programmes from developed countries

· lack of banking and other financial facilities

· relative or sometimes absolute neglect of rural African populations leading to low levels of income

· conflicting obligations of some Member States stemming from their membership of the PTA and the Southern African Customs Union

· different traditions, management and administration procedures and

· different standards, qualifications and performance criteria for staff involved in the management of regional programmes

· the various sectors in the decentralised structures have no clear line of authority and accountability in the implementation of regional programmes.

The future

SADC has a declared objective of creating a genuine and equitable integration among its member states. Governments should be prepared to give up their national sovereignty if economic integration is to succeed. Involvement of the people is essential and will entail free movement of people, capital and labour without need for visas or even passports.

Various trading blocs have been or are being established throughout the world and Southern Africa cannot be the exception. SADC has a lot to learn from similar organisations to ensure success.

The future of SADC also lies with the findings and recommendations of the ministerial committee established to look into the harmonisation of relations between itself and the PTA. Possible duplication of resources in their activities is one of the arguments in favour of a merger. While recommendations of the ministerial committee have not yet been made public, it is reliably understood that one of the six options under consideration is the splitting up of the PTA into north and south, with the latter equating to SADC.

Sectoral coordinating Units are likely to be converted to commissions such as SATCC and SACCAR.

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