By Joseph Ngwawi
Southern Africa has begun the process of formulating a new 30-year vision that will provide strategic direction for the region until 2050 and outline a phased approach to implementation of regional programmes and activities.
The process of formulating the proposed Southern African Development Community (SADC) Vision 2050 and the accompanying Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030 is the culmination of a long and intensive process that began in earnest in June 2012.
The decision to develop the SADC Vision 2050 was approved during an extraordinary Summit of the SADC Heads of State and Government held in June 2012 in Luanda, Angola.
The summit decided that the Vision 2050 should be predicated upon the existing SADC vision, which is that “of a common future in a regional community that will ensure economic well-being, improvement of the standards of living and quality of life, freedom and social justice, and peace and security for the people of Southern Africa”.
The summit made proposals for strengthening SADC foundations by taking into account the importance of emerging regional and international issues.
This was expected to summarize the SADC development question within a longer-term framework, ensuring that adequate measures could be put in place to mitigate against prevailing and emerging risks and challenges.
In August 2012, the summit that convened in Maputo further discussed the elaboration of the long-term vision.
The Maputo summit introduced measures to engender a consultative process that would iron out issues that could inform the regeneration of the vision and mission of the region as well as the associated principles underpinning SADC.
The summit appointed a technical task team comprising of senior experts from the region, to coordinate the technical, logistical and organisational aspects of development of the vision.
When the SADC Council of Ministers convened in Zimbabwe in August 2014, it was noted that the Revised RISDP 2015-2020 contained a roadmap for the development of a long-term vision, which marries the purposes and objectives of the RISDP and the SIPO in an interrelated and complementary manner.
In this regard, an attempt was made to ensure that the Revised RISDP 2015-2020 is an integrated strategy that captures developmental as well as peace and security elements.
The revised RISDP 2015-2020 was approved in March 2016, and took into account Council’s position that the Secretariat ought to frontload industrialisation as the vehicle through which economic growth and socio-economic development of SADC would be achieved.
The Council of Ministers further directed the Secretariat in August 2018 to align the SADC Vision 2050 to the African Union Agenda 2063 and resolved that the Strategic Plan 2020-2030 should be termed the RISDP 2020-2030.
In February 2019 the Secretariat commissioned consultants to review the RISDP 2015-2020, as well as the SIPO.
The review found that much progress had been made in the implementation of the RISDP, although this was uneven within the different areas.
It was noted that there had been progress in developing the Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap and in market integration to some extent.
However, on the whole, progress had been limited by a lack of tangible projects being implemented by member states to realise the strategic objectives; inadequate infrastructure; and low funding for regional development projects.
From the peace and security perspective, there has been great progress that has been observed in the areas of political governance, observation of elections, and the establishment of the SADC Electoral Advisory Council.
The review made a number of recommendations, which included the need to expedite the ratification of protocols; improvement in the implementation of decisions and development of enforcement mechanisms, as well as the development of an appropriate institutional framework for SADC, the engagement of non-state ac-tors, alternative resource mobilisation, and the promotion of greater intra-regional trade through value-added products.
The review culminated in the commissioning of another group of consultants in June 2019 to develop the SADC Vision 2050 and the RISDP 2020-2030.
In addition to being guided by the findings of the RISDP mid-term review, the formulation of SADC Vision 2050 and the accompanying RISDP 2020-2030 is also guided by the conclusions of the Ministerial Retreat on the SADC We Want that was held in March 2017 in Eswatini.
The retreat highlighted a number of challenges that are hampering the attainment of the SADC Vision, including the lack of prioritization.
The retreat called for “a more effective means to achieve these objectives, and to ensure that there is an equitable distribution of SADC regional integration benefits, and investments across member states”.
The overall objective of the assignment by the consultants is to formulate SADC Vision 2050 and a RISDP 2020-2030 as a roadmap of the priority interventions for the first 10 years of implementing the vision.
The key tasks being undertaken by the consultants include:
- A review of implementation of existing protocols; policies and strategies and establishing the progress made against set targets, achievements, and identify constraints and challenges that need to be addressed in Vision 2050;
- Undertaking an environmental scan or situation analysis of the SADC protocols, policies and strategies to provide a broad-based view of the existing situation. The environmental scan will also provide the social, economic, political, security, technological, legislative context in which the community functions or will function in future;
- Review of the long-term visions and development strategies/plans of member states and draw comparisons and similarities, and make recommendations on the alignment of especially those priorities with a strong regional bearing and the timeframes for their operationalization;
- Generating a set of sectoral strategic objectives and priorities taking into consideration developments in the various sectors;
- Drawing up a matrix indicating the priority pillars, required resources, and timeframe for implementation of the RISDP 2020-2030;
- Developing a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation framework that will include a set of key performance indicators and targets at each of the pillars of integration and sectoral priorities; and
- Making proposals on the institutional framework and capacity for the effective implementation of the proposed strategic interventions necessary to realize the development vision and design a compliance mechanism for all stakeholders. – SADC Today