SADC reviews disaster response, regional trade

By Oleen Ndori

The just-ended SADC ministerial meeting held in the Malawian capital, Lilongwe, resolved to call for the emergency operationalisation of the SADC Humanitarian Operations Centre to expedite response systems in the face of rising natural disasters.

As the region continues to battle rising natural disasters, the SADC Ministerial meeting has called for the operationalisation of the humanitarian centre which is central in how the region responds to natural disasters.

“Our meeting also considered, related to that, we also discussed the status of disasters in the region, particularly the urgent need to operationalize the SADC Humanitarian Operations Centre, which is in Nacala, Mozambique, which is intended to build the region’s capacity to swiftly and effectively respond to natural disasters in member states,” the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ambassador Fredrick Shava he said.

Ambassador Shava added that the meeting also deliberated on regional trade in relation to the aspirations of the Africa Continental Free Trade area.

“We noted the entry into force of the SADC Protocol on trade and services in Jan this year. The main objective of this protocol is to level the playing field among SADC member states by ensuring that industries and consumers take advantage of a single regional services market. This should strengthen our industry as we open up to trade in the wider continental free trade area, which a number of SADC countries are already part to.”

The two-day meeting also deliberated on the capacitation of the SADC Secretariat, response to the COVID-19 and the food security situation in the region along with issues of peace and stability.