Citizens better off with SADC than without it: Ulrich

GABORONE: The Southern African Development Community (SADC) region has on Saturday launched a 24-page book intended to increase the public visibility of the region.

The publication, titled SADC at 35 ‘Success stories’ is funded by German’s Deutsche Gesellschaft Fur Internationaale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) with the aim to showcase some of the achievements and benefits of regional integration in the region.

Regional success stories and positive results are documented in the publication with a focus on how regional integration has benefited citizens.

The book came about in a belief that SADC is not sufficiently well understood in terms of its mandate, programs, activities and impact.

Among the success stories that impacted on the region’s citizens documented in the publication, include the establishment of the one-stop border post initiative, cross-borders banking services, trans frontier conservation areas across SADC, SADC cooperation on trans-boundary management of water resources and how power cooperation among SADC countries benefit citizens.

“SADC region may not be perfect and nobody will ignore the number of challenges the region is facing after its established, however SADC has performed much better than isolated challenges,” said German Ambassador to Botswana Rolf Ulrich while launching the ‘Success stories’ publication.

Ulrich said the foremost objective of SADC is to bring about tangible achievements for the benefit of the people in the region and it is not unfair to measure the region and its member states against this ambition.

He said regionl integration is a long term agenda, if not a never ending endeavour where its success depends on tangible achievements along the way, such as listed and described in the ‘SADC Success Stories.’

“Looking at the southern African from outside, I m convinced that people in the region still have a long road ahead, but definitely, they are better off with SADC than they would be without SADC,” he emphasized.

Meanwhile, SADC Executive Secretary Stergomena Lawrence Tax said in pursuit of the regional integration agenda, SADC member states have since 1992 signed 27 protocols and a number of declaration, charters and memorandum of understanding on various matters ranging from trade, mining, finance and investment to illicit drugs, forestry and share watercourses as well as empowerment of women.

Out of the 27 protocols, 4 have come into force so far after being ratified by two-thirds of the signatory members states.

“Although there is still a long way to go, we believe that these and other initiatives have improved the lives of SADC citizens,” she said.