Nearly 80 percent of SADC’s planned activities, programmes and projects were successfully implemented between April and December 2020 despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was said by SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Tax at the virtual Council of Ministers meeting on March 12.
While Dr Tax said the implementation rate was not as high as the Secretariat would have wanted, it was still commendable considering the circumstances.
Further, the bloc is pressing ahead with its development and integration agenda.
One of the major priorities of the 16-member group is continued and up-scaled implementation of COVID-19 intervention measures.
In a communique issued after the meeting, the ministers said, “Council directed the Expanded Technical Committee for Coordinating and Monitoring the Implementation of the SADC Protocol on Health to continue monitoring the COVID-19 situation and provide timely advice, and to analyse the current COVID-19 situation in the African context and provide home-grown solutions.
“On a related matter, Council approved the proposal by Mozambique to hold the face to face meeting of the SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government in May or June 2021 to consider its detailed agenda, if the COVID-19 situation is contained.”
Dr Tax informed the Council that 17 companies from across Southern Africa had been earmarked to manufacture COVID-19 medical and other pharmaceutical products under an initiative supported by the European Union and German development agency GIZ.
The Council endorsed an offer by Mozambique to host the SADC Humanitarian and Emergency Operations Centre (SHOC), which will be responsible for facilitating enhanced regional disaster risks preparedness, response and early recovery.
In the past few years the region has been affected by natural disasters caused by extreme weather conditions like floods and droughts.
“On the regional and continental integration, Council noted the status of the signing and ratification of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA). In this regard, Council urged Member States who have not signed or ratified AfCFTA and TFTA to do so to allow for the implementation of the agreements. The ratification of the TFTA Agreement is critical as it will pave way for the successful implementation of the AfCFTA,” reads the communique.