SADC plans to establish a museum to honor the men and women who nurtured the dream of a common future within the regional community.
The construction of a modern museum is part of a mechanism approved by the 40th Regular Summit of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) held in August 2020, to preserve and honor the legacy of the founders of the Sadc.
“The museum will be seen as a very useful one-stop-shop for archiving artifacts and documents on the founders and their legacy,” according to a document posted on the Sadc website.
The proposed museum “will ensure the permanent survival of the historical record of the founders of Sadc, the liberation struggle in southern Africa and the progress made in regional integration, as well as wide accessibility to this information to the public.”
It will bring together and display the heritage of the founders through a collection of books, objects, memorabilia, badges, films, music and art.
The museum will be built on an existing open space within the premises of the Sadc Secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana.
Other activities proposed to honor the legacy of the founders of Sadc include the nomination of venues and rooms for the Sadc Secretariat and satellite offices according to some of the leaders who formed the regional organization.
Similar initiatives are expected to take place in the 16 Sadc member states where some public buildings such as government and parliament offices, airports, streets and universities are said to be named after the founders of Sadc.
Leaders from nine countries (Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe) met in Lusaka, Zambia on April 1, 1980 to establish the Development Coordination Conference of Southern Africa (SADCC) following a series of consultations by representatives of the front-line states of the day to forge a closer alliance.
SADCC was transformed into Sadc at the historic 12th Summit in Windhoek, Namibia on August 17, 1992, which transformed the organization of a coordinating conference into a community. This date is now commemorated as Sadc Day.
This golden generation of altruistic leaders included the founding presidents of Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana, respectively Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda and Seretse Khama, who delayed the economic development of their countries to ensure political independence from the rest of the country. region. They formed the central leadership of the frontline states.
Driven by the strong desire of the founders of Sadc to see southern Africa achieve political empowerment and economic development, the region has made significant strides in promoting regional cooperation and integration.
One of the first notable achievements was the solidarity shown by the region as it championed the global campaign against apartheid in South Africa.
The culmination of this pressure led to the collapse of the official apartheid system, the independence of Namibia in 1990 and democratic elections in South Africa in 1994.
Thanks to the spirit of unity and the common vision manifested by the founders of Sadc more than four decades ago, the region has made further significant advances on the peace and security front.
These included the creation of a regional force to intervene in situations where the situation of peace and security in a Member State or in the region as a whole is threatened.
The Sadc Standby Force was launched in 2007 and became fully operational in 2017 as a multidisciplinary peacekeeping force made up of military, police and civilian components that can be deployed rapidly in response to a crisis, on the basis of a pending agreement.
The SADC Regional Peacekeeping Training Center (RPTC) based in Harare, Zimbabwe, supports the work of the SADC Standby Force by providing peacekeeping training for military, police and military components. civilians.
Established in 2003, the SADC RPTC provides training for peace support missions in the region and for joint operations with other parts of Africa.
On the economic front, significant progress has been made in integrating the economies of the Member States.
Milestones include the historic launch of the Sadc Free Trade Area in 2008, which resulted in a gradual program of tariff reductions and allowed over 85% of intra-regional trade between member states to achieve status. zero duty.
This was complemented by efforts to open borders to citizens of other Member States in the spirit of facilitating the movement of goods and services, and of facilitating the movement of people in the region.
Another complementary activity was the decision to prioritize industrialization in the regional development and integration agenda.
The decision to accelerate industrialization was taken in 2015 after reviewing previous efforts to increase intra-regional trade which have been hampered by the weak capacity of member states to produce goods for competitive trade in the world. inside and outside the region.
This led to the adoption of the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063, which recognizes the private sector as a major player in SADC industrialization and regional integration.
One of the aspirations of the founders of SADC, as embodied in the Lusaka Declaration adopted at the inaugural SADCC summit in Zambia in 1980, was the need for a coordinated approach to infrastructure development.
This objective received particular attention, culminating with the adoption of the SADC Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan in 2012.
The master plan was based on the understanding that the development and maintenance of infrastructure is a priority to accelerate regional economic integration and development.
This includes the concept of one-stop border posts as a key part of the transport and logistics infrastructure to reduce transaction costs for crossing borders.
Other milestones achieved since 1980 include cooperation in the fields of agriculture and food security as well as the promotion of gender equality in the region.
The story of these achievements in building a regional community is told in a new publication, 40 Years of Sadc: Enhancing Regional Co-operation and Integration, launched by Sadc in June 2021.
The publication is well documented and illustrated, produced for SADC by the Southern African Research and Documentation Center (SARDC) in Zimbabwe whose premises are named in honor of its founding patron as Julius K Nyerere House. – sardc.net