Southern African Development Community

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Southern African Development Community (SADC)
  • Communauté de développement d'Afrique australe  (French)
  • Comunidade para o Desenvolvimento da África Austral  (Portuguese)
Logo of the Southern African Development Community
Motto: "Towards a Common Future"
Anthem: SADC Anthem
Map of Africa indicating SADC (light green) and SADC+SACU (dark green) members.
Map of Africa indicating SADC (light green) and SADC+SACU (dark green) members.
Headquarters Gaborone, Botswana
Working languages
Type Intergovernmental
• Summit Chairperson
Swaziland Mswati III
• Council Chairperson
Botswana Pelonomi Moitoi
• SADC PF Chairperson
Mauritius Abdool Ameen
• Tribunal
Mauritius Ariranga Pillay
• Executive Secretary
Tanzania Stergomena Tax
Legislature SADC Parliamentary Forum
• as SADCC
1 April 1980
• as SADC
17 August 1992
• Total
9,882,959 km2 (3,815,832 sq mi)
• Estimate
277 million
GDP (PPP) 2013 estimate
• Total
US$ 1,193 billion
• Per capita
Time zone (UTC+1 to +4)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is an inter-governmental organization headquartered in Gaborone, Botswana. Its goal is to further socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among 16 southern African states, it complements the role of the African Union.

Member states[edit]

Map of the African Union.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the African Union

SADC has 16 member states:[1]

Additionally, Burundi has requested to join.[5]


The origins of SADC lie in the 1960s and 1970s, when the leaders of majority-ruled countries and national liberation movements coordinated their political, diplomatic and military struggles to bring an end to colonial and white-minority rule in southern Africa, the immediate forerunner of the political and security cooperation leg of today's SADC was the informal Frontline States (FLS) grouping. It was formed in 1980.

The Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) was the forerunner of the socio-economic cooperation leg of today's SADC. The adoption by nine majority-ruled southern African countries of the Lusaka declaration on 1 April 1980 paved the way for the formal establishment of SADCC in April 1980.

Membership of the FLS and SADCC sometimes differed.

SADCC was transformed into SADC on 17 August 1992, with the adoption by the founding members of SADCC and newly independent Namibia of the Windhoek declaration and treaty establishing SADC, the 1992 SADC provided for both socio-economic cooperation and political and security cooperation. In reality, the FLS was dissolved only in 1994, after South Africa's first democratic elections. Subsequent efforts to place political and security cooperation on a firm institutional footing under SADC's umbrella failed.

On 14 August 2001, the 1992 SADC treaty was amended, the amendment heralded the overhaul of the structures, policies and procedures of SADC, a process which is ongoing. One of the changes is that political and security cooperation is institutionalised in the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security (OPDS). One of the principal SADC bodies, it is subject to the oversight of the organisation's supreme body, the Summit, which comprises the heads of state or government.

The organisation holds its own multi-sport event in the form of the SADC Games, which was first held in 2004 in Maputo. Originally planned for an earlier date in Malawi and Lesotho, organisational issues led to abandonment of the plan and the SADC issuing a fine of $100,000 against Malawi,[6] the first event in 2004 in Maputo resulted in over 1000 youths under-20 from 10 countries taking part in a sports programme including athletics, football, netball, boxing and basketball.[7]


SADC has 27 legally binding protocols dealing with issues such as Defence, Development, Illicit Drug Trade, Free Trade and Movement of People.[8]

  • Protocol on Energy (1996) – Intended to promote harmonious development of national energy policies. These development strategies set out tangible objectives for SADC and its Member States for infrastructure development in energy and its subsectors of woodfuel, petroleum and natural gas, electricity, goal, renewable energy, and energy efficiency and conservation.[9]
  • Protocol on Gender and Development – Member states are urged to accelerate implementation efforts towards the achievements of concrete and transformative changes in the lives of women and girls in our region.H.E. President Mutharika also expressed concern on the escalating incidents of gender based violence in the region, especially those perpetrated against women and girls, and used this occasion to sign a commitment to end child marriages, as part of the AU campaign to end Child Marriages in Africa.[10]

SADC FTA[edit]

The SADC Free Trade Area was established in August 2008, after the implementation of the SADC Protocol on Trade in 2000 laid the foundation for its formation,[11][12] its original members were Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe,[13] with Malawi joining later. Of the 15 SADC member states, only Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Seychelles are not yet participating.[14]

On Wednesday 22 October 2008, SADC joined with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and the East African Community to form the African Free Trade Zone, including all members of each of the organizations. The leaders of the three trading blocs agreed to create a single free trade zone, the African Free Trade Zone, consisting of 26 countries with a GDP of an estimated $624bn (£382.9bn). It is hoped the African Free Trade Zone agreement would ease access to markets within the zone and end problems arising from the fact that several of the member countries belong to multiple groups.[15]

The African Free Trade Zone effective has been more than a hundred years in the making—a trade zone spanning the whole African continent from Cape to Cairo and envisioned by Cecil Rhodes and other British imperialists in the 1890s. The only difference is that the African Free Trade Zone is the creation of independent African Countries, the idea is a free trade zone spanning the whole continent from the Cape to Cairo (Cape Town in the Republic of South Africa to Cairo in Egypt).

In addition to eliminating duplicative membership and the problem member states also participating in other regional economic cooperation schemes and regional political and security cooperation schemes that may compete with or undermine each other, the African Free Trade Zone further aims to strengthen the bloc's bargaining power when negotiating international deals.

Challenges facing member countries[edit]

SADC countries face many social, development, economic, trade, education, health, diplomatic, defence, security and political challenges, some of these challenges cannot be tackled effectively by individual members. Cattle diseases and organised-crime gangs know no boundaries. War in one country can suck in its neighbours and damage their economies, the sustainable development that trade could bring is threatened by the existence of different product standards and tariff regimes, weak customs infrastructure and bad roads. The socio-economic and political and security cooperation aims of SADC are equally wide-ranging, and intended to address the various common challenges.[16]

One significant challenge is that member states also participate in other regional economic cooperation schemes and regional political and security cooperation schemes that may compete with or undermine SADC's aims, for example, South Africa and Botswana both belong to the Southern Africa Customs Union, Zambia is a part of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, and Tanzania is a member of the East African Community.

According to Human Rights Watch, "SADC has been criticized for its laxity on making human rights compliance within its member states a priority".[17]

To promote regional corperation.

To promote and defend peace and securuty in the region.

To achieve economic development.

To use resources of the region in a highly productive manner.

Structure and decision-making procedures[edit]

The organisation has six principal bodies:

Except for the Tribunal (based in Windhoek, Namibia), SNCs and Secretariat, decision-making is by consensus.


SADC headquarters building in Gaborone, Botswana.


Country Chairperson Term
 Zambia Levy Mwanawasa 2007–2008
 South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe 2008–2009
 Democratic Republic of the Congo Joseph Kabila 2009–2010
 Namibia Hage Geingob 2010–2011
 Angola Jose Eduardo dos Santos 2011–2012
 Mozambique Filipe Nyusi 2012–2013
 Malawi Joyce Banda
Peter Mutharika
2013–31 May 2014
31 May–17 August 2014
 Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe 2014–2016
 Botswana Ian Khama 2015–2016
 Swaziland King Mswati III 2016-2017
 South Africa Jacob Zuma 2017–present

Executive Secretaries[edit]

Country Name Term
 Namibia Kaire Mbuende 1994–2000
 Mauritius Prega Ramsamy 2000–2001 (Acting)
 Mozambique Thomas Salomao 2005–2013
 Tanzania Stergomena Tax 2013–present

Comparison with other regional blocs[edit]

African Economic Community
blocs (REC)
Area (km²) Population GDP (PPP) ($US) Member
in millions per capita
AEC 29,910,442 853,520,010 2,053,706 2,406 54
ECOWAS 5,112,903 300,000,000 1,322,452 3,888 15
ECCAS 6,667,421 121,245,958 175,928 1,451 11
SADC 9,882,959 233,944,179 737,335 3,152 15
EAC 2,440,409 169,519,847 411,813 2,429 6
COMESA 12,873,957 406,102,471 735,599 1,811 20
IGAD 5,233,604 187,969,775 225,049 1,197 7
Area (km²) Population GDP (PPP) ($US) Member
in millions per capita
CEMAC 2 3,020,142 34,970,529 85,136 2,435 6
SACU 2,693,418 51,055,878 541,433 10,605 5
UEMOA 1 3,505,375 80,865,222 101,640 1,257 8
UMA 2 5,782,140 84,185,073 491,276 5,836 5
GAFTA 3 5,876,960 166,259,603 635,450 3,822 5
1 Economic bloc inside a pillar REC

2 Proposed for pillar REC, but objecting participation
3 Non-African members of GAFTA are excluded from figures

  smallest value among the blocs compared
  largest value among the blocs compared

During 2004. Source: CIA World Factbook 2005, IMF WEO Database




  • 12 April "Confusion surrounds Mugabe's appearance at crisis meeting"[19]


  • 12 August - Germany commits €300m for development to SADC[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MEMBER STATES". Southern African Development Community. Retrieved 2017-07-31. 
  3. ^ "The Union of Comoros becomes the 16th SADC Member State". Southern African Development Community. 2017-08-20. Retrieved 2017-07-31. 
  4. ^ "SADC Lifts Madagascar Suspension". SADC. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  5. ^ Nakale, Albertina (2017-08-22). "Southern Africa: Comoros Admitted Into SADC". Retrieved 2017-08-31. 
  6. ^ Organisation of SADC Games to cost a million dollars. Panapress (2003-05-11). Retrieved on 2014-09-15.
  7. ^ Valy, Bayano (June 2004). The first Under-20 Zone Six SADC Games. SADC Today, Vol.7 No.2 June 2004. Retrieved on 2014-09-15.
  8. ^ Southern African Development Community :: SADC Protocols. Retrieved on 2013-08-09.
  9. ^ "South African Development Community". Retrieved 3 November 2014. 
  10. ^ "Southern African Development Community". Retrieved 3 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "Free Trade Area". Southern African Development Community. Retrieved 14 Mar 2014. 
  12. ^ "Southern African Development Community Protocol on Trade" (PDF). Southern African Development Community. 1996. Retrieved 14 Mar 2015. 
  13. ^ Mbola, Bathandwa (18 Aug 2008). "SADC launches free trade area". - Brand South Africa portal website. Retrieved 14 Mar 2015. 
  14. ^ "Free Trade Area". Southern African Development Community. Retrieved 14 Mar 2015. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ Deep Integration
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ Railways Africa – EXTENDING BEYOND CHIPATA
  19. ^ Confusion surrounds Mugabe's appearance at crisis meeting – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
  20. ^ "The Southern Times". 

Further reading[edit]

  • Gabriël Oosthuizen, The Southern African Development Community: The organisation, its history, policies and prospects. Institute for Global Dialogue: Midrand, South Africa, 2006.
  • John McCormick, The European Union: Politics and Policies. Westview Press: Boulder, Colorado, 2004.
  • Ramsamy, Prega 2003 Global partnership for Africa. Presentation at the human rights conference on global partnerships for Africa’s development, Gaborone: SADC

External links[edit]