SADC Summit, August 2008
SADC Pre-Summit Diplomats Briefing
edited by Hubert Taylor
Dr Tomaz Augusto Salomão,
SADC Executive Secretary
Zimbabwe's political affairs are set to be discussed in the SADC1 Head of State and Government Summit meeting at Sandton, South Africa on 16-17 August 2008.
Pre-Summit diplomats briefing2
In a pre-Summit briefing at Kgale View Boardroom, Gaborone, Botswana on 5 August 2008, SADC Executive Secretary Dr Tomaz Augusto Salomão3 said that as well as other matters, the meeting agenda will include two main points: (i) the launch of the [SADC] Free Trade Area, and (ii) the current political situation in the region.
As is normal, the Summit will be preceded by various meetings at ministerial, committee, and senior officials levels; from a finance sub-committee meeting on 9 August to a Council of Ministers on 14-15 August.
Prevailing political situation
Dr Salomão reported the general situation as "relatively calm" while recognising that "challenges" faced some SADC member states - namely Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Kingdom of Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Dr Salomão said, "We [SADC] are, however, hopeful that these challenges will be overcome through dialogue and constructive engagement".
SADC Free Trade Area 4
Dr Salomão said that having drawn-up a protocol on 17 August 2008 the SADC will launch the SADC Free Trade Area (FTA) under the theme - "SADC Free Trade Area for Growth, Development and Wealth Creation".
Power Availability in the Region
Dr Salomão noted that Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) projections indicate that power deficits in the region would persist through to 2012. He said in spite of development of power generation facilities in several countries, the "challenge of power shortages" will necessitate measures to optimise energy supplies and reduce consumption.
Dr Salomão reported that,
"Based on the experiences of the SAPP, the Regional Electricity Regulators Association (RERA) and Electricity Supply Commission of South Africa (ESKOM) and experiences of other Member States, a regional harmonised framework on Power Conservation Programme has been developed for implementation across the region. It is currently coordinated by the SAPP".
It was noted that ESKOM had gained from the results of energy projects in Brazil and United States of America.
Health, Education, Employment and Gender
Improvements and strengthening of health systems in SADC member states are said by Dr Salomão, to have led to a decline in prevalence and incidence rates for HIV5, AIDS6, and malaria, in certain population categories and in some parts of the region.
In education, there were said to be increased primary education enrolments and in the gender parity index. Member States were also said to be reforming Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to meet economic needs.
In August 2008 a Committee of Ministers is set to consider a draft SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, for submission to the August 2008 SADC Summit.
References and notes
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