34th ordinary SADC summit of Heads of State and Government in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

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34th ordinary SADC summit of Heads of State and Government in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Post  Sirop14 on Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:44 am

34th ordinary SADC summit of Heads of State and Government in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Regional integration tops agenda

President James Michel attended the opening ceremony of the 34th ordinary Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit of the Heads of State and Government in Victoria Falls yesterday morning, barely two hours after arriving in Zimbabwe.

President Michel is leading the Seychelles delegation in discussions at the Elephant Hills Resort in Victoria Falls.

The presidential delegation includes the secretary of state for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Barry Faure; the Seychelles ambassador to South Africa and permanent representative to SADC, Ambassador Claude Morel; as well as senior officials from the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Investment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Office of the President.

The theme of the 2014 summit being followed by leaders of the 15-nation SADC is ‘SADC strategy for economic transformation: Leveraging the region's diverse resources for sustainable economic and social development through beneficiation and value addition’.

During the opening ceremony, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe took over the chairmanship of SADC from Malawi President, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika.

In his acceptance speech, incoming SADC chair, President Mugabe said he felt humbled and yet greatly honoured at being appointed the chairman of SADC, adding it is also an honour for his country Zimbabwe.

He welcomed new members to the SADC family -- President Hery Rajaonarimampianina of Madagascar and President Arthur Peter Mutharika of Malawi -- as well as new SADC executive secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax.

“As Zimbabwe, we look forward to making our contributions to the SADC agenda, and are confident that, together, we can ensure that the region focuses on interventions that have the greatest impact on the well-being of our citizens. As SADC we should not lose sight of our regional integration agenda, our focus and priorities. We also should not be tempted to introduce, or embrace, too many programmes which, in the end, we fail to fund from our own resources,” said President Mugabe.

He added that the current process underway to review the Regional Integrated Strategic Development Programme (RISDP) should not be a more academic exercise, but a reality check which should redirect the SADC.

“Our continued over-reliance on the generosity and goodwill of our cooperating partners tends to compromise our ownership and sustainability of our SADC programmes. How can we proudly claim SADC to be our own organisation when close to 60% of the programmes are externally funded? The review of the RISDP should therefore result in a SADC with fewer and focused programmes that are core to our vision of regional integration, which is aimed at strengthening our economies and the improvement of the lives of the people of our region,” continued President Mugabe.

Talking about the region’s “abundant resources”, President Mugabe said “these resources, instead of being sold in raw form, at very low prices must instead be exploited and beneficiated, in order to add value and cost to those products which we eventually export. This process should assist us in our efforts to industrialise, and in turn, increase employment opportunities for our people”.

He noted that SADC should wean itself from exporting raw materials, but instead seek to create value chains that lead to the exportation of finished goods.

“I am confident that in our discussions we will lay a foundation for the necessary strategies, as well as a plan of action on the beneficiation and value addition of our natural resources. Our material resources are capable of playing a pivotal role in the development of all SASC member states,” said Mr Mugabe who added that the region seems to have slowed down on market integration to instead focus more on the ongoing consolidation of the SADC free trade area.
In relation to peace, security and democracy, President Mugabe said the SADC’s scorecard remains encouraging as it is one of the most peaceful and stable regions on the continent.

He also thanked the SADC’s organ Troika for working tirelessly and providing rapid response to emerging challenges on peace and security.

The mediation process in Madagascar, he said, is a shining example of SADC’s characteristic resilience and patience.

President Mugabe also made a statement in solidarity with the Palestinian people, saying the Western world, which claims high moral ground on issues of human rights and sanctity of life, have looked with moral and academic indifference, while the Israeli army continues to butcher innocent women and children, all under the false guise that these children will be terrorists tomorrow or that these women will give birth to future terrorists.

During the summit, the SADC leaders are deliberating among others, on socio-economic issues that affect the region.

The SADC leaders will also consider the report on the review of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP). The RISDP was said to be a comprehensive development and implementation framework guiding the Regional Integration agenda of SADC over a period of 15 years. Approved by SADC leaders in 2003, the RISDP is a blueprint for regional integration and development.

The plan was under review as part of efforts to realign the region’s development agenda in line with new realities and emerging global dynamics.

The first review was a desk assessment by the SADC secretariat in 2010, followed by an independent mid-term review in 2013, and another assessment done by a multi-stakeholder task force as directed by the 2013 SADC summit held in Lilongwe, Malawi.

The review process is now complete, and the revised blueprint was to be presented to regional leaders for approval. Once adopted, the plan is set to provide the impetus for deeper integration among SADC member states.

Another key issue for discussion is how southern Africa can come up with viable strategies that ensure that the region fully benefits from its vast natural resources.

This is in realisation of the fact that SADC continues to be among the poorest in the world despite the abundant natural resources since the majority of SADC countries do not have beneficiation and value addition policies, hence the bulk of the value-addition takes place elsewhere and benefiting others.

SADC is also defining a new development blueprint that is expected to shape the region's integration agenda until 2050. In this regard, the SADC Vision 2050 will also be discussed.

The SADC vision 2050 aims to provide a framework for a long-term vision as the region sought to position itself in emerging global and continental issues.

Seychelles joined the SADC in September 1997 in order to enhance south-south cooperation, but the country withdrew from the organisation in June 2003 due to financial and human resource constraints. It re-joined the SADC on August 17, 2008.

Text and photo Gerard Govinden in Zimbabwe



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President Michel addresses SADC Summit

Post  Sirop14 on Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:15 pm

President Michel addresses SADC Summit

‘African countries need to diversify their economies’

President James Michel has called for the increase of export of manufactured products as a priority for SADC (Southern African Development Community) economies.

"Wealth is created through value addition; we need to diversify our economies. Africa represents only 3% of global trade. Africa is exceedingly rich in natural resources therefore we need a renewed focus on the importance of services in economic development and the possibilities for leveraging Global Value Chains to drive rapid and sustainable growth in income and employment," said Mr Michel.

President Michel was speaking at the SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government which opened on Sunday in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

The theme of the summit is ‘SADC Strategy for Economic Transformation: Leveraging the Region's Diverse Resources for Sustainable Economic and Social Development through Beneficiation and Value Addition.'

At the ceremony, the chairmanship of the SADC was assumed by Zimbabwe, following a handover from Malawi.

During his intervention at the summit, President Michel congratulated Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on assuming the chairmanship of SADC.

The President noted that the general political and security situation in the SADC region is stable, and that this stability would “drive common agenda for economic integration and for the advancement of our respective countries”.

The SADC leaders all welcomed back Madagascar to the SADC family following the return to constitutional normalcy and recent democratic elections.

"I think it would be good to address the many challenges ahead, namely those of reconciliation and the socio-economic development of the country. I believe the SADC family should continue to engage with Madagascar in its post conflict phase and especially in its reconstruction process," said President Michel in his intervention.

It should be recalled that President Michel hosted two rounds of mediation talks in Seychelles together with South African President Jacob Zuma, then Chair of the SADC Organ Troika on Peace, Defence and Security, as part of the Roadmap that led to the elections, notably the Desroches Process held in July 2012.

The Seychelles government also seconded Ambassador Claude Morel to Antananarivo as Head of the IOC Liaison Office to support efforts to bring and end to the crisis and realise credible democratic elections.

Referring to the Summit’s theme, the President said that one source of 'vast wealth' for Africa are the oceans and that there is a huge potential for developing the Blue Economy within the infrastructure framework and policy of SADC.

"The ocean is the next frontier that we need to tap for its vast potential....The diversification of our economies lies in the sustainable use of all our ocean resources...However at the heart of the Blue Economy there is sustainability. This will ensure that the natural resources and fragile ecosystems that we depend on will not be depleted and Africa will achieve economic diversity as planned in Agenda 2063."

He added that Seychelles strongly supports the SADC theme for the summit and called on the organisation to ensure it is properly reflected in its programmes and projects.

President Michel reiterated his call for islands of southern Africa to be included in the SADC development programmes, and not be marginalised, similar to the call he also made in Washington recently at the US-Africa Summit.

The President is accompanied at the summit by the secretary of state for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Barry Faure; the Seychelles ambassador to South Africa and permanent representative to SADC, Claude Morel; the secretary general of the Office of the President, Lise Bastienne as well as senior officials from the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Investment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Office of the President.



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34th ordinary SADC summit of the Heads of State and Government in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Post  Sirop14 on Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:17 pm

34th ordinary SADC summit of the Heads of State and Government in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Member states urged to boost industrialisation process

Member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have been urged to place emphasis on strengthening the industrialisation process to transform the region’s economies in terms of employment and wealth creation and boosting of value based exports.

Outgoing SADC chairman, President Arthur Peter Mutharika of Malawi, said this in his speech at the opening ceremony of the 34th SADC summit of Heads of State and Government on Sunday at the Elephant Hills resort in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

He also ceremoniously handed over the SADC chairmanship badge to Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

President Mutharika said the region adopted the SADC Industrial Development Policy Framework to use it as a vehicle for the transformation of economies in SADC countries.

He added that the policy framework if well implemented would, among others, help address long standing challenge of trade imbalance among member states thereby creating jobs and wealth for their peoples.

Said President Mutharika: “I’m excited to note that the theme of the incoming chairperson seeks to strengthen this initiative. I encourage the region to rally behind the chairperson to ensure successful implementation of this painful but necessary process.”

When he spoke about infrastructure development, he said that following the adoption of the SADC Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan in Maputo in August, 2012, the process of marketing the projects was intensified. But he stressed that the region needed to redouble efforts to allocate local resources for investment in infrastructure if it were to scale up implementation of agreed priority projects.

“Of particular concern is the urgent need to address power shortfalls in the region, and provision of trade related infrastructure, namely transport infrastructure, border facilitation measures and elimination of notorious non tariff barriers (NTBs),” said President Mutharika who added that all countries should rally around the priorities identified in the review of the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP).

Member states should also establish their own funding mechanisms to ensure that priority interventions are adequately funded, he said, noting that the long process of dialogue and preparation for elections in Madagascar culminated in democratic elections in that country and he felt proud as SADC, that a democratically elected government is now in place.

As the new chairman of SADC, President Mugabe will now chair the summit of Heads of State and Government, council of ministers meetings, standing committee of senior officials’ meetings and sectoral meetings.

In his acceptance speech, President Mugabe said: “As SADC, we should not lose sight of our regional integration agenda, our focus and priorities. We should not be tempted to introduce, or embrace, too many programmes which, in the end, we fail to fund from our own resources.”

Established since 1980, SADC is a regional economic community comprising 15 member states those being Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Gerard Govinden in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe



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Pan-African parliament evolves into institution with full legislative powers

Post  Sirop14 on Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:18 pm

Pan-African parliament evolves into institution with full legislative powers

The Speakers of African Parliaments unanimously approved that the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) evolves from the consultative and advisory body of the African Union to one with full legislative and oversight powers.

The Speakers of the African Parliaments took that decision at the 6th Annual Conference of Speakers of African Parliament held in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa last week.

The Speakers further approved that future members of the PAP will be elected by direct universal adult suffrage and not nominated by National Parliaments as is presently the case.

Each African country will vote in a general election to elect five members to PAP.

The conference took that decision following a lengthy discussion on an amended PAP Protocol drafted by the African union at its 23rd summit held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea in June 2014.

The National Assembly of Seychelles was represented by its Speaker, Dr Patrick Herminie, who said that this decision would come into force once the amended protocol is ratified by more than half of members of PAP.

PAP has presently 49 members.

The conference further debated and adopted a presentation by Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the chairperson of the African Union, entitled the Vision and African Aspirations for 2063 which reaffirms the AU vision to build an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, an Africa driven and managed by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena.

It is to be noted that the 2063 vision also promotes the concept of the Blue Economy, the brain child of President James Michel, as an important mechanism to sustain growth in Africa.

The conference also deliberated on the need to fast track Pan-Africanism and African renaissance through the speedy ratification and domestication of the many African Union legal instruments/protocols.

The conference also lamented the fact that out of the 49 AU protocols in place only 26 countries have ratified more than half of the instruments.

Dr Herminie described the deliberations as very fruitful but warned that unless Africa shows the political will to strengthen democratic institutions such as the legislature, the Office of the Auditor General, the Anti-Corruption Commission and a strong Judiciary, and to take full control of its vast resources, our vision of a united Africa with one central bank system and currency, one African Passport, one continental nationality, an Africa without border, will remain a very distant dream.



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South Africa and Seychelles gear up for first joint commission

Post  Sirop14 on Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:19 pm

South Africa and Seychelles gear up for first joint commission

The first senior officials’ meeting between Seychelles and South Africa, in preparation for the first joint commission between the two countries, established in accordance with the General Cooperation Agreement that was initialed on January 30, 2007 in Addis Ababa, took place in Victoria, Seychelles, on August 14, 2014.

Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, principal secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, headed the Seychelles delegation and Ambassador Ebrahim Saley, deputy director general, Africa Bilateral, Department of International Relation and Cooperation (DIRCO) led the delegation from South Africa.

During the meeting both sides stressed the excellent ties of friendship and cooperation that exist between the two countries and expressed a mutual desire to consolidate that relationship, through the establishment of a joint commission.

According to a communique from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the meeting was held in a spirit of historical friendship whereby both sides acknowledged the necessity to collaborate across a variety of sectors including employment, social development, trade and investment, agriculture and fisheries, education and human resource development, environment and renewable energy, youth and sports, military and police, tourism and culture.

Ambassador Loustau-Lalanne noted that this high level meeting presents unparalleled opportunities for Seychelles owing to the comprehensive nature of the proposed collaboration.

“Such extensive cooperation across a broad spectrum of themes has the added benefit of stimulating people-to-people linkages which is an essential component of our socio-economic development,” remarked Ambassador Loustau-Lalanne.

Seychelles reiterated the importance of the ‘Blue Economy,’ and both sides agreed to promote the concept in light of the upcoming Small Islands Developing States Summit to be held in Samoa.

The two countries remained cognisant of the importance of the Indian Ocean and pledged to work together towards the sustainable development of the shared oceanic territory.

In addition, Seychelles and South Africa would continue to offer support for each other at international fora.

The countries expressed their satisfaction with the successful deliberations of the senior officials meeting and agreed to hold the 1st Joint Commission in South Africa in 2015 at mutually convenient dates.



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34th SADC summit of Heads of State and Government in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Post  Sirop14 on Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:57 am

34th SADC summit of Heads of State and Government in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

‘Africa is the continent of tomorrow’

“Africa is seen as the continent of tomorrow, the continent of the future and I can say that the ocean is the new frontier. So we must all work hard and in partnership to propel the African continent to play its role as the youngest and fastest-growing continent in the globalised world,” President James Michel has said.

He was speaking to the Seychelles media at the end of the 34th Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit of Heads of State and Government in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

The Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world, provided the perfect scenic backdrop for the interview and President Michel described it as “out of this world”.

Speaking about the summit’s theme – ‘SADC Strategy for Economic Transformation: Leveraging the Region’s Diverse Resources for Sustainable Economic and Social Development through Beneficiation and Value Addition’ – President Michel said “it is an important one as SADC needs to relook at itself, relook at its mission, why it came into existence and what it has to do to reach a new stage of its development.”

Mr Michel noted that during the summit it was declared that SADC has achieved its mission but with many changes happening in the globalised world it is time for us to work on radical changes on the organisation’s structure and the actions it has to take to keep pace with the development happening in the rest of the world.

During the summit, the leaders also threw their weight behind a drive to turn their nations into industrialised economies and President said: “The theme set the scene for heads of state and government to discuss how Africa can reach the next level of its development. It came out that Africa has a lot of raw materials and natural resources, but these resources are exported outside the continent before being imported as transformed goods. This has to stop if we want the continent to develop and progress. With the help of developed countries, it is important that we transform these raw materials in Africa and then export the transformed products to get better revenues. We also spoke about integration and infrastructure development which are all key elements in bringing about these changes. For this to happen we have set up committees to monitor the work being done.”

As industrialisation should take centre stage in SADC’s regional integration agenda, the SADC heads of state and government have mandated the Ministerial Task Force on Regional Economic Integration to develop a strategy and roadmap for industrialisation in the region.

President Michel said he took the opportunity to point out that Africa is not only mainland Africa.

“Africa also has islands and the oceans. The development of the ocean is also very important and falls within the blue economy concept Seychelles has been putting forward for some time now. We have to see how we can transform the different raw materials and resources found in the oceans. I’m happy that the blue economy has been accepted by SADC as a concept of Africa’s development. Africa is now considering its mainland and its oceans as a whole in its development. Seychelles thus has an important part to play in this development,” he said.

There were also talks for the establishment of an expanded free trade area (FTA) and when Seychelles becomes a member of the FTA it will be able to trade with other SADC countries without having to pay taxes.

“Like some other countries, Seychelles has taken into consideration some of its key produce and has to protect its farmers and animal breeders for example.

This is why it has sought derogation of the FTA law allowing it to keep a percentage of the tax income. As Seychelles is not expected to pay taxes on products imported from within the SADC region, the prices of the products on the market will fall. The same will apply when other countries import fish, for example, from Seychelles. It will help in regional integration,” said President Michel.

The President pointed out that although SADC is the most stable region in Africa it is not the poorest as some critics may say, adding it has a lot of natural resources but lack the infrastructure to develop these.

“A lot has been said about energy development, the construction of railways to link up countries to help transportation. For island nations, this is not enough. We need shipping lines for commerce between the mainland and the islands. The Victoria Falls is a very good example of the power of water in Africa.

It is a permanent energy source which we don’t have in Seychelles and SADC has to see how Seychelles too can benefit from such projects. We have to see the resources available in every country and then harmonise our position for us all to benefit,” he said.

When he spoke about the issue of SADC depending too much on foreign financing, President Michel said: “Partnership is very important in development especially if you have the manpower but not the know-how to develop the resources at your disposal. Many historical reasons like colonisation and wars might have contributed for us not to have been able to develop our human resources to the required level. We also don’t have advanced technology and this is why we need partnership. Seychelles and Africa need to have foreign direct investments (FDI) and it must be a win-win situation that benefits both parties. The knowledge and skills acquired by the locals will help in the development of the country. It’s a process which Seychelles and Africa have to go through, the same thing China and some south-east Asian countries went through.”

SADC is a 15-member regional grouping that aims to promote sustainable and equitable socio-economic development in southern Africa.

The member states have an estimated combined population of 277 million and GDP (gross domestic products) of around US $575.5 billion.



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