Sunday, 19 August 2012

SADC's GDP between 2010-2011 slumps by 0.8percent

the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the  Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, in which Zambia  falls, has slumped by 0.8 per cent between the years 2010 and 2011.

The regional GDP declined from 5.5 per cent in 2010 to 4.7 per cent in  2011 and inflation averaged at 8.3 per cent during the same period.

SADC Executive Secretary, Thomas Salomao said the decline in GDP has  therefore slowed down the economic performance of the region due to a  sluggish growth.

Dr Salomao said this economic trend was influenced by developments in  global markets especially the Euro-zone which is facing serious  economic challenges.

Dr Salomao said this yesterday in a communiqué issued by 14 countries  that attended the just ended 32nd SADC summit of heads of state and  government in Maputo in Mozambique.

He meanwhile said the summit reviewed progress made in the  implementation of the regional economic integration agenda.

“In this regard, the summit received a report on the framework for the  SADC Customs Union  from the ministerial task force on regional  economic integration outlining key elements for the Customs Union, in
particular the parameters, benchmarks and a model Customs Union for  SADC including the sequencing of activities,” he explained.

Dr Salomao noted that progress has since been made towards the  establishment of the Tripartite Free Trade Area for three regional  economic blocs namely SADC, Common Market for Eastern and Southern
Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC).

He further said progress has been made towards operationalising the  SADC regional development fund, which is a financial mechanism aimed  at mobilizing resources from member states, the private sector and
development partners.

The resources that will be mobilized will be injected into programmes  and projects for regional development and profound integration.

“The summit noted areas of agreement reached in the various aspects of  the fund including the windows of the fund with the infrastructure and  industrial development windows as top priorities and a subscribed
capital of US$1.2 billion to be raised as seed capital,” he said.

The SADC Executive Secretary disclosed that Ministers responsible for  finance and investment in the region have since been directed to  expeditiously address all outstanding issues in order to make the fund
become operational soon.

The other area which the summit reviewed was the status of  implementing infrastructure development programmes in the SADC region.

To show commitment to the programmes, the summit has adopted the  Regional Infrastructure Development Plan Vision 2017.

The programmes will be implemented over a period of 15 years running  from next year to 2027.
Dr Salomao said this plan will serve as a key strategic framework that  would guide the implementation of efficient, seamless and  cost-effective trans-boundary infrastructure networks in an integrated
and coordinated manner.

The sectors in the programmes include energy, transport, tourism,  international communication technology (ICT), postal, meteorology and  water.

On regional food security, Dr Salomao said the summit reviewed the  situation in cereal, non-cereal and livestock production noting that  there will be a general cereal deficit of 5.5 million tonnes in the
SADC region because of mainly poor rains.

He explained that to this effect, the number of people requiring  humanitarian aid in food and non-food stuffs will rise in the region.

He said the summit has therefore urged member states to undertake  suitable measure so that there is sustainable food security in the  region in accordance with the Dar es Salaam Declaration of Agriculture
and Food Security.

And the just ended summit noted that there was reduction in new HIV  infections, transmission of HIV from the mothers to children, AIDS  related deaths and increase behavioural change for HIV prevention
among young people in the region.
 Dr Salomao said this was due to the implementation of the 2003 Maseru  declaration on combating HIV and AIDS.

He said despite this improvement, member states should fully support  the implementation of the ongoing regional programmes that include the  SADC HIV and AIDS cross border initiative which is aimed at providing  preventive, care and treatment services to major cross border points.

Earlier, the summit received a declaration from First Spouses in SADC  in which they committed themselves to supporting all efforts of  governments in the region on prevention of mother to child  transmission of HIV (PMTCT) with a view to achieve zero new HIV  infection, zero discrimination and zero HIV related deaths.

The SADC First Spouses, who held a summit yesterday on the theme that  PMTCT was a guarantee to economic development in the region, believes  that a SADC HIV free generation is possible and is a prerequisite to  development and regional integration.

First Lady of Mozambique, Maria da Luz Guebuza today presented the  declaration to incoming SADC Chairperson, Armando Guebuza, who is also  her husband.

Furthermore, the summit considered during its two day sitting in  Maputo the political instability in Zimbabwe and Madagascar and the  security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Dr Salomao said the situation in the DRC required urgent attention  because many people were being displaced and many other were losing lives and property at the hands of a rebel group calling itself M23.

The security situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo worsened in the last three months and caused displacement and death of  many people and damage to property.

SADC, which comprises of 15 countries, believes that the rebel groups  who are perpetuating the security situation in the area are getting  support from Rwanda.

Dr Salomao said for this reason, the new Chairperson of SADC and  President of Mozambique, Armando Guebuza has since been mandated to  travel to Rwanda and engage the government of that country to stop
military support to armed rebels in the DRC.

He said Rwanda should immediately consider stopping to support rebels  because their presence and activities were a threat to peace and  stability not only in DRC but the entire SADC region.

On Madagascar, Dr Salomao said the summit reiterated its previous  decision made in August last year in Angola and mandated the SADC  mediator and the organ troika to intensify the dialogue with the main
Malagasy political players.

This is in order to persuade the Malagasy political stakeholders to  fully and urgently implement the road map and take necessary measures  of creating a favourable environment for free, fair and credible  elections.

Concerning Zimbabwe, the summit adopted the report of the SADC  facilitator in that country, Jacob Zuma and noted that progress has  been made towards implementing the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Dr Salomao said the summit has since urged stakeholders in the  political spheres of Zimbabwe to work together particularly in the  constitutional making process, which is about to be concluded.

He said the signatories to the GPA should develop a roadmap that has  timelines guided by requirements of the process of adopting the  constitution and creating conditions for free and fair elections in

“The summit noted the partial lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe  and urged the European Union and the rest of the international  community to lift all the sanctions unconditionally,” he said.

The 32nd SADC heads of state and government summit was attended by  Presidents Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Seretse Ian Khama of Botswana,  Joseph Kabila of DRC, Joyce Banda of Malawi, Armando Guebuza of  Mozambique, Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia and James Michel of  Seychelles.

Others are King Mswati III of Swaziland, Prime Minister of Lesotho,  Thomas Thabane, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Michael Sata of  Zambia and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe.

Angola was represented by its Vice President Fernando da Piedade Dais  Dos Santos while Mauritius sent Minster of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Arvin Boolell to represent the
country at the 15 member regional grouping.

The fifteenth member of SADC, Madagascar was not represented because  it is serving a suspension following the unconstitutional removal of  sitting President, Marc Ravalomanana by Andry Rajeolina in 2009.

However, Mr Ravalomanana and Mr Rajeolina were in Mozambique and were  summoned by the Troika meeting to hear the resolutions of the meeting  that would be presented to the main summit.

The President of Malawi Joyce Banda was elected to deputise President  Guebuza to chair the SADC in the next one year while President Pohamba  was elected as deputy chairperson to President Kikwete in chairing the  SADC organ on politics, defence and security cooperation. 

Other notable officials that attended the summit are former President  of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano, who is SADC facilitator on the  conflict in Madagascar, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma who is South Africa’s
Minister of Home Affairs and incoming Chairperson of the African Union  Commission and Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development  Bank (AfDB).

COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya, East African Community  Secretary General Richard Sezibera and Secretary General of the SADC  Parliamentary Forum Esau Chiviya were also in attendance.

The next SADC summit will be held in Malawi in August next year where  that country’s President will take over chairpersonship from Mr  Guebuza.

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