The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is seeking to raise about 500 million US dollars to finance implementation of its Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), according to Mozambican Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi.
Speaking to Mozambican journalists in the Botswana capital, Gaberone, Baloi stressed that the plan had been devised so that the SADC region would advance towards economic integration, in which the priorities are industrialization, infrastructures and energy.
SADC’s own website describes the RISDP as “a comprehensive 15 – year strategic roadmap, which provides the strategic direction for achieving SADC’s long term social and economic goals. It also provides the SADC Secretariat and other SADC institutions with clear guidelines on SADC’s approved social and economic priorities and policies and therefore, enhancing their effectiveness in discharging their facilitating and coordinating role”
“The Plan re-affirms the commitment of SADC Member States to good, political, economic and corporate governance entrenched in a culture of democracy, full participation by civil society, transparency and respect for the rule of law”, SADC claims. “The ultimate objective of the RISDP is to deepen the integration agenda of SADC with view to accelerating poverty eradication and the attainment of other economic and non-economic development goals”.
Baloi said that one of the matters discussed by the Council of Ministers was the participation of SADC in the tripartite free trade area set up between SADC, the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the East African Community. When this sprawling free trade areas was set up at a summit between the three regional organisations in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheik on 10 June, Mozambique refused to sign the agreement.
“Not all the countries have joined this initiative”, said Baloi. “Mozambique did not join because we need to hold internal consultations and solve tariff questions. It’s no good joining just for the sake of joining. We have to defend national interests, because integration involves risks”.
He pointed out that SADC’s own integration progamme has fallen behind scheduled. SADC’s own free trade area has yet to be consolidated. By now SADC should have move onto forming a customs union, but that has not yet happened because of the risks involved, said Baloi.