By Staff Reporter
THE AU-SADC National Committee which includes all line ministries of Namibia was launched in Windhoek on Wednesday to fast track the implementation of AU and SADC Decisions and Programmes.
In a press statement sent to Caprivi Vision, Namibia Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Ms.Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwa noted that “As a region, we agreed at the onset that we would co-operate and foster deeper regional integration for the betterment of our people through accelerated development and economic integration of our countries. We are committed to ensure peace, security and political stability premised on democratic principles, gender balance and women and youth empowerment, as these are vital drivers for socio-economic progression.”
The AU-SADC National Committee is a brainchild of Namibia , and it was established by a Decision of the Cabinet of the Republic of Namibia on November 17, 2020.
This is in line with the international treaty obligations as provided by the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia , Article 96 which outlines foreign policy aspirations.
The Committee, as a driving force will be deriving maximum benefits from Namibia’s membership to both the AU and SADC, and is also mandated to oversee the activities of the core areas of integration, and monitor and control the implementation of the continental and regional development programmes.
Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation Executive Director, Ambassador Penda Naanda said in her welcoming address that the establishment of the Committee and launch is a testimony of the importance Namibia attaches to multilateralism and international cooperation.
“It was here in Windhoek that the Southern African Development Community was transformed from a Coordination Conference as established in 1980, to a Development Community in 1992. This transformation was brought about by the need for change and adoption in an ever changing world, made so evermore evident by the unprecedent pandemic that the world is currently facing” Ms.Ndaitwah said.
According to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, in the last four (4) decades, SADC has recorded different important milestones in areas of regional cooperation and integration, in the areas of peace and security, infrastructure development, trade and investment, food, agriculture and natural resources as well as social and human development.
She said all this has been made possible through continental and inter-regional cooperation and integration. The participation of citizens in decision making, especially women and young people brings the regional process closer to people. Theory and practice has continued to prove that cooperation can positively contribute to capacity building, as well as infrastructure and economic development across countries and regions.
SADC, as a Regional Economic Community, has actively participated in the transformation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) to the African Union (AU). As a building bloc of the AU, we are conscious of the fact that every success we record in the various fields as a region, contributes to the economic, political and social progress of the African continent.
“Notwithstanding the region’s achievements, we still have a long way to go, in this regard the virtual 40th SADC Summit adopted the SADC Vision 2050, which sets out our long-term development aspirations. The 40th SADC Summit also adopted the Regional Indicative Strategic Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030, which has its basis in the Vision 2050 and outlines the envisioned ten- year development trajectory for the region. The SADC Vision 2050 is complementary to the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, while the RISDP (2020-2030) mirrors aspects of the Ten-Year Implementation Plan of the AU (2014- 2023).
These development blueprints were designed to provide clear strategic direction as implementation frameworks guiding the Regional and Continental Integration Agenda. The aims and objectives of the AU and SADC are closely aligned with greater harmonization. As a result, the two institutions coordinate their work to allow combined and complimentary efforts. The Common African Position on the Post-2015 Development Agenda heavily influenced the crafting of the UN SDGs, and as it stands, there is over 90% convergence between the AU Agenda 2063 and the UN Agenda 2030. Namibia was proud to have been part of the process in the elaboration of the Common African Position.
Subsequently on 8 June 2016, a National Stakeholders’ Workshop was held in Windhoek, jointly organized by the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation and the National Planning Commission (NPC) with the support of the UN Country Office and AU Commission, to domesticate the UN Agenda 2030, and the AU Agenda 2063, and to align our national development plans accordingly. ”
She however added that , Namibia continues to enjoy support and solidarity, including in the area of institution-building, from SADC and International Cooperating Partners, this occasion accords us the opportunity to take stock of the gaps that exist in our efforts of regional integration, towards a common African future.
“According to the NDP 5 Main Document, entitled, “Working Together Towards Prosperity”, some gaps in our development are identified, among others, manufacturing technology and skills in Namibia are limited; we also face water and energy insecurity, and inadequate infrastructure in some sectors, including the tourism sector.
Identifying our challenges at the national level, will enable us to find solutions, both at the national, sub regional and continental level. Namibia, SADC and Africa, all our people must have access to clean water, adequate food, good health, and educational services and better housing.”
“I strongly believe that with all the resources we have both human and natural Namibia is in a better position to make her contribution to those national, sub-regional and continental aspirations. “
The AU-SADC National Committee will ensure that all national policies should remain guided by those of SADC and the AU, to maintain the good progress towards forging a common identity and sense of common destiny amongst the countries and peoples of Africa.
Hon.Nandi Ndaitwah further concluded that “The committee will further increase the effectiveness of policies and programmes by allowing us to measure the implementation progress.
The participation of the SADC and AU representatives at this Launch is a testimony of the commitment to cooperation between African Member States, in the best interest of our people. African people deserve the best. So thank you very much for your presentations.
This Launch comes at a time when the world is confronted with an unprecedented public health crisis of COVID-19, with far-reaching social and economic consequences. The virus has exposed the deep inequalities that continue to exist across our continent.
It has clearly shown how far we are from realizing the developmental goals and responsibilities to our citizens, underscoring the importance of policy harmonization and alignment across national borders as a pre-requisite for cross border investment and for the movement of goods, capital and people.
It remains therefore, paramount that we continue to demonstrate the same measure of unity in ensuring the success of this Committee, as we have in the fight against Covid-19, for it is through this unity that we have found strength to continue implementing our regional programmes and projects, for the betterment of our people.
I urge you all, Ladies and Gentlemen, to continue this spirit of cooperation in order to drive our collective vision for mutual benefit. I, therefore, take the opportunity to commend the efforts of the African Union and SADC Secretariat towards embracing and implementing our common regional integration agenda in order to build a solid foundation upon which Africa’s future generations will build.”