WHEN the Southern African Development Community (SADC), was formed comprising Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Tanzania, it was all smiles with the intention of economic development and regional integration to facilitate trade and financial liberalization within the bloc.
It was formed to establish competitive and diversified industrial development, increase investment, and eradicate poverty within the region that has over 350 million people.
The benefits have been many and reached the lives of many grassroots’ people in the region, if one must go by the words of the 28th U.S. president, Woodrow Wilson, who led America through World War I and crafted the Versailles Treaty’s “Fourteen Points,” the last of which was creating a League of Nations to ensure world peace, especially his school of thought that: “Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.”
More than ever SADC members want one another to achieve economic development, peace and security, and alleviate poverty within the bloc.
These objectives would be achieved through increased Regional Integration, built on democratic principles, and equitable and sustainable development, which the founding fathers and pan-Africanists like Mwl Julius Nyerere, Nelson Mandela and Samora Machel amongst others had in mind.
With that background, the only homage we can pay the founding fathers and pan Africanists is to live their dream and implement their strategies.
They had in mind to reinforce the Regional Economic Integration (REI), to reduce and eliminate trade barriers by their States coming to join together.
They knew that geographical proximity, cultural, historical, and ideological similarities, competitive or complementary economic linkages, and a common language among the Partner States are importantly required for effective economic integration.
Within the situation, the bloc (read grassroots’ citizens), would enjoy increased trade, expanded markets, attraction of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and in-creased bargaining powers.
They had in mind strengthened security and conflict resolution in the region, and the free movement of people across the region, where jointly they can confront the enemies of development.
Once they seriously come together they would be at a position to implement joint projects which fight diseases, and crime, which also have no boundaries.
Joined together woes in their infrastructures and environment amongst others would be addressed, and at the end of the tunnel, it is their nationals (SADC members), would benefit.
If these would be extended to the coming generation and embraced by current and future leaders, SADC would be a force to reckon with in the continent and far beyond.