By Mpho Tebele
Gaborone - SADC and Germany announced here this week the conclusion of bilateral negotiations on regional integration and development cooperation.
The announcement was made by SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax and head of division for Southern Africa Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in Germany, Alois Schneider.
According to Schneider, Germany is supporting SADC in the area of economic cooperation, shared natural resources and water management through GIZ, KfW and PTB.
GIZ is a German development agency headquartered in Bonn and Eschborn that provides services in the field of international development cooperation. KfW is a German state-owned development bank, based in Frankfurt while PTB is the national meteorology institute of Germany with scientific and technical service tasks.
Schneider said the negotiations on cooperation were in support of SADC’s regional integration and development cooperation.
The meeting, which was held at the SADC Secretariat, was also attended by, among others, Ralf Breth, Germany Ambassador to Botswana and SADC, Jan Sadek, head of the delegation of the European Union to Botswana and SADC, (as observer) GIZ Botswana country director and SADC Secretariat directors and programme officers.
At the conclusion of the talks, a commitment amounting to 30 million Euro was made for both technical and financial cooperation in 2019/2020, bringing the total envelop to 40.36 million Euro with the earlier commitments made in 2018/2019.
Through these commitments, the cooperation will continue to support, among others, regional economic integration (covering peace, security and good governance); transboundary water management; transboundary natural resource management and resilience to climate change; and strengthening national-regional linkages.
Dr Tax pointed out that the negotiations had enabled SADC and Germany to review implementation of on-going programmes and agreed further areas of cooperation in line with the goal of the development cooperation between SADC and Germany which is to deepen regional integration for the benefit of the people in the SADC region.
“Industrialization remains the overarching priority of SADC, supported by infrastructure development as a key enabler to industrialisation and peace and security as a pre-cursor to development,” she said.
She said the theme which was adopted at the last summit in August 2019 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, demonstrated this aspiration.
Dr Tax said that there was a need for special attention to the growing effects of climate change and associated devastating impacts, as well as the enhancement of adaptation and resilience to climate change, that needed to be addressed under special programmes of regional dimensions.
During the negotiations, the agreement between Germany and SADC concerning financial cooperation in 2016 and 2017 was also signed to enable the implementation of the “Project Preparation and Development Facility” amounting to 13.5 million Euro and the transfrontier conservation area (TFCA) financing facility for up to 12 million euro.
The next bilateral negotiations between the SADC Secretariat and Germany will take place in Berlin, Germany, in 2021.
SADC has also called for alignment of support by Germany to comprehensively support the SADC priority on industrialisation and the sustainable development across the region, through alignment to SADC strategies, in particular to the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063.
By so doing, SADC reiterated that support shall be in conformity with the SADC Resources Allocation Framework, whereby 50% of resources are dedicated to support industrialisation and infrastructure in support of regional integration; 15% of resources for peace and security cooperation; and 35% of resources to support special programmes of regional dimension.
SADC also appealed for increased financial support to at least have the same shares as technical support (50% for TC and 50% for FC), and to include women economic empowerment in future areas of cooperation.