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Sadc heads reignite single currency dream

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Lazarus Chakwera

The 41st Ordinary Summit of Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Heads of State and Government ended in Lilongwe Wednesday, with regional leaders reigniting their long-term objective of creating Sadc Central Bank and Monetary Union.

The Sadc leaders, who have been meeting for the past two days in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe, agreed that the creation of Sadc Central Bank and Monetary Union be premised on fulfilling preconditions that include the harmonisation of fiscal and monetary policies of Sadc countries as well as greater convergence of banking systems.

Establishing a monetary union in the Sadc region has been one of the ultimate goals of the Sadc Protocol on Trade and a key milestone in the drive for deeper integration in the region.

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Initially, the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan implementation framework had identified 2016 as the target for the monetary union, which was to be preceded by the establishment of a Free Trade Area, Customs Union and the creation of a common market.

“In this regard, the African Monetary Institute and the African Central Bank should be long-term objectives,” the leaders indicated in a communiqué read at the end of the indaba.

Delegates to the summit, which was held under the theme ‘Bolstering Productive Capacities in the Face of Covid Pandemic for Inclusive, Sustainable Economic and Industrial Transformation’, expressed concern and objected to the unilateral decision taken by the African Union Commission to grant the State of Israel Observer Status to the African Union.

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The summit also approved the transformation of the Sadc Parliamentary Forum into a Sadc Parliament as a consultative and deliberative body.

Sadc leaders expressed concern “on the implications of the Post-Cotonou Agreement and the Neighbourhood Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) in terms of potential risks to fragment the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP); weaken Regional Economic Communities, shift agenda-setting powers from the member states to other parties”, and directed the Sadc Secretariat to submit Sadc’s preliminary concerns to the European Union Commission.

“Summit reiterated its call on the unconditional removal of sanctions imposed on the Republic of Zimbabwe, and support Zimbabwe in the ongoing socio-economic strengthening efforts,” the communiqué adds.

During the summit, regional leaders also received updates on the Security Situation in Cabo Delgado Province in the Northern part of the Republic of Mozambique and commended Sadc member states for pledging personnel and providing financial support towards the deployment of Sadc Standby Force to Mozambique.

Speaking at the end of the summit, new Sadc Chairperson President Lazarus Chakwera said time had come for Sadc member states to rebuild and recapacitate their productive resources and fully unleash the entrepreneurial capabilities of their citizens.

Chakwera said time had come for Sadc to set up production linkages for achieving structural and industrial transformation and to turn the Sadc they want into the Sadc they enjoy.

“The kind of socio-economic transformation we envision cannot be achieved without industrialisation. Diversification from raw and unprocessed materials to value-added and manufactured products is a must and the Sadc Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap is key to making this a reality,” Chakwera said.

The Malawi leader added that embracing digitisation could also be crucial to the acceleration of economic development in the region

Chakwera said Sadc leaders must ensure the full implementation of instruments such as the Sadc Protocol on Transport, Communications and Metrology and the 2001 Sadc Declaration on Information, Communications and Technology.

Regional leaders that graced the summit included Mozambique President Felipe Nyusi, South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi, Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi and Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina.

Others were Namibia Vice President Nangolo Mbumba and Lesotho Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu.

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