Southern Africa: SADC Update, 04/18/01

Southern Africa: SADC Update, 04/18/01

Southern Africa: SADC Update Date distributed (ymd): 010418 Document reposted by APIC

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Region: Southern Africa Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +economy/development+


This posting contains two articles reporting and commenting on recent developments in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), including changes in the regional organization decided at the recent Windhoek summit. Among other actions, the summit appointed Prega Ramsamy as Executive Secretary and decided to centralize administration of SADC functions at the headquarters in Botswana. A third article reports on regional estimates for crop production, predicting no famine conditions despite recent floods and drought.

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UN Integrated Regional Information Network

SOUTHERN AFRICA: SADC changes will bring efficiency

JOHANNESBURG, 13 March (IRIN) - A new managerial structure adopted at the Southern African Development Community's (SADC) extraordinary summit in Windhoek last week would go a long way towards furthering regional coordination and cooperation, experts told IRIN on Tuesday. The region's leaders decided at the one-day summit last Friday to merge the SADC's 19 sectors, which are run by individual member-states, into four clusters: trade, industry, finance and investment; infrastructure and services; food, agriculture and natural resources; and social and human development.

There is also room for co-ordination on issues like disaster management and drug trafficking through the creation of special projects. Another important decision taken was to make the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security accountable to the Summit and to rotate its leadership annually, using a troika system.

Horst Brammer, a deputy director in South Africa's Foreign Affairs Department, said it was hoped that the new structure would bring greater focus to the SADC and the manner in which it approached project implementation. "Until now there has been a sectoral approach, a great deal of decentralisation among countries with differing degrees of capacity. Depending on the capacity of a country driving a particular sector, some were operating and others were not operating at all. Now, instead of a country running one sector, experts from across the region will be used," he said.

"What will happen now is that the subject matter each sector was responsible for - instead of a sector on water and another on forestry - will be clustered into four broad directorates, so you will have a directorate on finance, development and investment," he added. It is envisaged that the SADC will boost its secretariat in Botswana to facilitate greater efficiency and to ensure that the clusters work cohesively.

According to Brammer the changes could transform the SADC into a leaner and meaner body. "The new system will be less cumbersome. It will be cheaper, and at the same time there will be a higher level of efficiency because you are pooling expertise," he said. Jakkie Cilliers, director of the Institute for Security Studies, based in South Africa, agreed.

Referring to the Organ on Defence, Politics and Security which was created in 1996, he said the perception created that the change was a defeat for Mugabe was incorrect. "It has been in the pipeline, and it is a rotating chair. Off course he has tried to stay on, but final agreement on its structure was agreed in Swaziland last year.

Zimbabwe always wanted it separate from the SADC, Namibia and Angola wanted this too. He (Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, who has been chair of the organ since 1996) wanted to continue in the legacy of the frontline states, so that Zimbabwe would almost be the permanent chair of the organ," said Cilliers. "Nelson Mandela disagreed with this and there have been various attempts by Swaziland, Mozambique and Malawi to mediate. Then, South Africa, under President Thabo Mbeki, launched a process to bridge the divide.

A protocol was negotiated and it was agreed at ministerial meetings in Swaziland that the organ's leadership would rotate," Cilliers added. He said the fact that it took five years to find agreement on the issue indicated that the region remained divided, with members of the SADC being suspicious of each other, and with differing approaches to issues like conflict resolution and regional collaboration.

"The region has a long road ahead in terms of building a collaborative security regime, where countries cooperate and don't compete. Lots of work still needs to be done, like the creation of confidence-building mechanisms. What we are trying to do is establish a region that is stable and cooperative," he said.


Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC) P O Box 5690 Harare Zimbabwe Tel: 2634-738694-6 fax: 738694 Email: URL:

SADC puts on a new face by a correspondent in Windhoek

March 30, 2001

Heads of State of the Southern African Development Community have approved a radical restructuring of SADC institutions to "squarely face the daunting regional and global challenges".

Consultations over the past year at ministerial level proposed the restructuring and centralization of SADC functions, from 21 sectors based in 14 countries and dealing with a diverse range of development issues from health, environment and mining to trade, tourism and investment into four clusters to be located at the SADC headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana. The proposal was adopted by Heads of State with little change, setting SADC on course to streamline itself rapidly into four Directorates, as follows: Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment; Infrastructure and Services; Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR); Social and Human Development and Special Programmes.

These changes are to be implemented over the next two years, beginning with the economic directorate to be established by August this year, and FANR Directorate by year-end.

The SADC Chairperson, President Sam Nujoma of Namibia, said the restructuring exercise will be tested against results in terms of "greater unity, increased and meaningful economic integration as well as economic competitiveness in the global market place. These will be the yardsticks that will measure our successes or failures."

The summit also agreed to create the Department of Strategic Planning, Gender and Development and Policy Harmonization, to strengthen the Secretariat in executing these functions and to serve as a think tank for community-building, regional integration and development.

Functions of the Council of Ministers remain as outlined in the Windhoek Treaty of 1992, but Summit also established an Integrated Committee of Ministers to oversee activities of the core areas of integration, including implementation of a Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan.

The Summit agreed that its own functions will remain as outlined in the Treaty and that the Troika system must be "formalized and provided for in the Treaty." This system is already operating in practice and facilitates consultation and leadership by the present, past and next SADC Chairpersons, currently Presidents Sam Nujoma of Namibia, Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique and Bakili Muluzi of Malawi.

Another item settled for public consumption after some backroom bargaining was the status of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense and Security, launched at an Extraordinary Summit in Botswana on 28 June 1996, as a separate consultative structure to "allow more flexibility and timely response, at the highest level, to sensitive and potentially explosive situations." As such, the Organ took over the security mandate of the old Front Line States (FLS) grouping established in the 1970s to deal with political and security issues associated with support for the liberation struggle in southern Africa. It consults at summit, ministerial and technical levels, the most active component being the Inter-State Defence and Security Committee (ISDSC).

SADC leaders agreed at their annual summit in Lesotho, a few months after launching the Organ, that it "would become the foremost institution of SADC mandated to address issues relating to political stability, conflict prevention, management and resolution, democracy and human rights, as well as issues pertaining to peace."

The Organ has been administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Zimbabwe since its inception, and headed by President Robert Mugabe, who was elected by his colleagues at the inaugural summit. There has been a reluctance by a number of member states to begin the rotation of leadership before formal agreement on the mandate and functions of the Organ, after disagreement over whether it should become an integral part of the SADC structure.

After the military interventions in Lesotho by South Africa and Botswana, and in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe, it was eventually agreed that those SADC states that feel able to intervene to assist a member state at the request of its government, should do so.

There had been concern that the flexibility to respond to critical security issues such as these would be hampered if the decision-making process was subordinated to a bureaucratic structure such as the Secretariat.

The Organ has remained essentially as agreed in 1996, and attempts to locate it within the structure of the SADC Secretariat failed again in Windhoek, in all but language. The Organ "will now be integrated in the SADC structures" but coordinated at Summit level on a Troika basis reporting to the Chairperson of Summit.

Leadership of the Organ will begin to rotate later this year as previously agreed, when SADC leaders meet in Malawi for their annual summit. The structure, operations and functions of the Organ will be regulated by a new Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.

The sensitivity of this issue was reflected in press reports in different countries which gave totally different interpretations of what had happened, based on the briefing spin of their officials.

The South African press painted the rotation as a defeat for President Mugabe, although based on a procedure agreed four years ago; while the national media in Zimbabwe heralded this development as a victory for their President over the machinations of Mozambique and South Africa.

These are only two examples of the widely varying media reports which give public face to the polarization of national interests in the region. Whether the SADC region could rightly be called bi-polar or multi-polar is a question of perspective and differs according to the issue at stake, but this was not the only agenda item in which Mozambique took an active role with South Africa and Botswana, in opposing the position of Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia.

Although the Organ has been a fault line in SADC, especially over intervention in the DRC, the same lines were drawn for different reasons over the election of a new Executive Secretary. On this issue, national interests prevailed.

The former Chief Economist and Deputy, Prega Ramsamy, has been acting Executive Secretary since Kaire Mbuende's departure in August 1999. An economist from Mauritius with some 19 years experience in the field, Ramsamy is a technocrat focused firmly on Trade as a priority over other aspects of regional development.

Some members of SADC wanted stronger leadership with a wider vision and access to political decision-making at ministerial level, to pursue an accelerated agenda of regional integration. Others, notably South Africa, Mozambique and Botswana, prefer an administrator who will deal with technical and trade issues.

The latter countries argued that more time should be allowed for candidates to be interviewed and recommended by officials. However, the Chairperson, President Nujoma ruled that the decision should be made without further delay, to strengthen SADC leadership in both reality and perception.

The five contenders presented by their countries previously in response to a call for candidates were then interviewed by a Selection Committee established by Summit and made up of five ministers of "neutral" countries which were not presenting candidates, ie Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Although there was some speculation that gender bias played a role in the decision which prevented SADC from heading into the 21st century with highly competent female leadership, the associated reasons were national interest rooted in South Africa's ambivalence to Angola and to a strong, united region.

The front-runner prior to the Summit was a highly competent Angolan woman cabinet minister, a chemical engineer with years of experience in her profession and in SADC activities, and a political career that reached the giddiest heights to which a woman has risen in the political administration of a SADC country.

Albina Assis Africano sorted out the strongest economic ministry in Angola, that of Petroleum, before continuing her trajectory as Minister of Industry. She has been Minister in the President's Office while campaigning with official support for the post of SADC Executive Secretary. She speaks all three SADC languages.

Another notable aspect of national interest is the fact that certain member states are almost never represented at SADC Summits by their heads of state. As has become almost a custom, the former Front Line States always attend at the highest level, while Mauritius, Seychelles and Lesotho send only ministerial representation.

It seems likely that other, larger members such as Angola may lose interest in southern regional development in favour of pursuing national interests and linkages in other directions.

The face that attracted the most interest as SADC leaders lined up for their photo call at this Extraordinary Summit was also the newest and youngest, that of General Joseph Kabila, the 29-year-old son of the assassinated DRC leader, Laurent Kabila.

Well-turned-out in a natty, wide-lapelled suit that echoed the style of his Angolan counterpart, Kabila the younger was a dignified presence both on the platform and off, during a moment of silence in remembrance of his father and during top-level bilateral meetings about the future of his country.

A seasoned Tanzanian journalist concluded wrily during the lengthy six-hour wait for the closing session, that while he thought the foundations for regional integration were being laid, it would be the generation of Kabila the younger that succeeds in building a southern African regional community. (SARDC)


UN Integrated Regional Information Network

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Harvest declines, but no drastic price hikes

[slightly condensed]

JOHANNESBURG, 28 March (IRIN) - The prices of staple grain products in southern Africa were unlikely to be drastically affected by the impact of floods and drought on crops in the region, analysts told IRIN on Wednesday. Kit LeClus, manager of marketing and research development at Grain SA, a commercial grain producers' body, said adverse weather conditions had affected crops throughout the region, but that there would be no "famine or catastrophe".

"It will be tight. Relief will be needed, but in the region as a whole we believe that Zimbabwe will have a shortfall of about 300,000 mt and that Tanzania and Kenya together will need about 100,000 mt of grains," he said. He added, however, that different states had been differently affected and that some might experience more serious shortages.

Liliana Balbi, southern Africa country officer for the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation, also told IRIN that conditions in different states varied. She said that South Africa and Malawi were expected to experience a reduction in exports this season while Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia would have to increase their imports sharply.

Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland had bad harvests last year, and were expecting no better this year, she said, meaning that they would have to import the same quantity of grains as last year - or more. Angola would once again have to import grains and rely heavily on international aid, Balbi said, while Mozambique's national crops, despite some losses, were not believed to be severely affected by drought and floods.

All the analysts who spoke to IRIN said it was still too early to determine exactly what crop quantities the region - and its individual states - would yield. ...

In its monthly report released on 16 March, the SADC's Regional Early Warning Unit (REWU) said that while preliminary forecasts were yet to be made in most states, indications were that there would be a 26 percent decline in the 2000/2001 SADC maize harvest to between 14.45 and 15.10 million mt compared with last season's above average production of 20.10 million mt.

"The decline is attributed to reduced plantings in South Africa and Zimbabwe, excessive rains and flooding in Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, while a devastasting mid-season dry spell affected several other countries," the report said. Floods have ruined over 30,000 hectares of cropland and displaced about 400,000 people in Mozambique.

About 335,000 people have been affected by flooding in parts of Malawi, and storms and heavy rains have also taken their toll in eastern Zambia and northern Zimbabwe. In its overview, the unit said: "Indications are that a regional maize deficit/import reqirement of between 2.10 million mt is in prospect for the 2001/2002 marketing year, as compared to a regional surplus of 1.71 million mt in the 2000/2001 marketing year. Only Malawi and South Africa are projected as showing domestic maize surpluses in the 2001/2002 marketing year." ...

For the latest SADC report, please see:

For the latest FAO report, please see: /2001/SRSAF01.htm

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Message-Id: <> From: "APIC" <> Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2001 15:50:03 -0500 Subject: Southern Africa: SADC Update

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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