Sadc must deal with regional challenges

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SOUTHERN African Development Community (Sadc) heads of State and Government virtually meet on Monday for their annual summit under the theme — Sadc: 40 Years Building Peace and Security, Promoting Development and Resilience in the Face of Global Challenges.

One of the major global challenges today is the coronavirus pandemic that is ravaging the region, with powerhouse South Africa the most ravaged in this part of the world.

Covid-19 has mercilessly battered most economies in the region.

Besides the pandemic, some pockets of the region are experiencing political instability. There are insurgencies in the DRC and Mozambique while political tensions are rising in Zimbabwe.

Hence Monday’s meeting should focus on how the economy in the region should cope with the Covid-19 to avoid its people being thrown into poverty.

A blueprint on how the region should prop during and after the pandemic with set deliverables and benchmarks should be inked. The region needs a sagacious strategy to ensure the economies remain functioning and if possible prosper.

Focus should also be on how to deal with the political problems in the DRC, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, which are antithetical to social development.

Brutal truth among the regional leaders is critical in finding solutions to the hotspots in the region. It is worrying that for 40 years, the regional bloc continues to be rudderless on the vestiges of crafting proper policies on developmental prerequisites.

On the economic and policy front, it appears to be decades before Sadc can adopt a single monetary union and worse adopt a development paradigm that is inward looking,

On the contrary, other blocs have actively sought to create a Development Finance Bank which will act and subsume infrastructural lending requirements outside the Bretton Woods financial superstructure of the IMF and the World Bank.

These are the countries of Brazil, India, China and South Africa — the Brics —who signed into existence a financial behemoth called the Brics Bank.

Elsewhere, the MINT bloc made up of Mexico, India, Nigeria and Turkey have upped the ante towards financial harmonisation and developmental reorientation in the group with a mandate to create a similar outcrop, a developmental finance bank.

It is from this background that the pre-occupation and relevancy of a pre-war and anti-colonial Sadc is just nonsensical.

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