Country managers of the African Development Bank Group (www.AfDB.org) and representatives of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat last month held a series of discussions on deepening regional integration across the 16-nation body, through increased cooperation.
The discussions took place during a meeting held on 24 October in Gaborone, Botswana. The engagement is also expected to lay the groundwork for improved portfolio performance of regional and multinational operations of the Bank, and enhanced business development and implementation of SADC regional projects.
The country managers presented objectives and key areas of focus for country strategy papers, and highlights of transformational projects. The SADC representatives raised priority regional projects and opportunities for collaboration with the Bank. The discussion also shed light on how the Bank can assist SADC member countries to mobilise resources for regional projects using various financing instruments of the Bank.
The director general of the Southern Africa Regional Office, Leila Mokaddem, led the delegation of managers from 15 SADC countries. They met a team from the SADC Secretariat led by Deputy Executive Secretary of Regional Integration Dr. Thembi Nkosi Mhlongo. On 26 October 2022 the country managers also attended an Extra-Ordinary meeting of the SADC Committee of Ministers of Finance and Investment, to discuss recommendations on how to operationalize the $13 billion SADC Regional Development Fund.
The extraordinary and country managers’ meetings were held in the context of recommendations made by the SADC Finance ministers and governors of central banks, as well as a recent meeting between the Bank’s senior vice president and the deputy Executive Secretary of SADC, held in July 2022.
In her remarks, Mokaddem reaffirmed the Bank’s commitment to supporting efforts by SADC countries to address economic development challenges at regional and national levels. She also reiterated the importance of strengthening the national-regional linkages in engagement and programming. She said the meetings would assist in enhancing dialogue between country managers and respective ministries, including better alignment of priorities at both national and regional levels.
Dr. Mhlongo noted that engagement with the African Development Bank’s regional office has been improving and as a result the portfolio of bank-financed SADC Secretariat projects has grown. He also stressed that countries in the region needed to focus more on regional value chains than country-based ones. He also called for deeper policy dialogue on these issues and enhanced coordination and collaboration with the Bank.
The meeting concluded with an agreement to institutionalize semiannual engagement meetings between the SADC and the African Development Bank.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is a Regional Economic Community comprising 16 Member States: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, United Republic Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).