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SADC meeting in Windhoek

Foreign ministers from the 14-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) were expected to meet in Windhoek on Thursday to prepare for an extraordinary meeting of regional leaders on Friday, ‘The Namibian’ reported. The report said that issues to be discussed included a regional defence pact and the appointment of a permanent SADC secretary-general, which will be finalised at the next summit in Malawi in August. The Southern Africa Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC) said SADC leaders would also consider a ministerial report that seeks to transform the management structure of the organisation. SARDC said that if approved the proposal would collapse the organisation’s 21 sectors currently coordinated by member states, into five core clusters. The clusters would be brought into an enlarged SADC secretariat based in Gaborone, Botswana, where they would be managed by appointed directors. Meanwhile, another report by ‘The Namibian’ quoted Namibian officials as saying that SADC would not “accommodate” Uganda as a 15th member. Namibian official, Andrew Ndishishi was quoted as saying that “many countries” had applied to be admitted as members of SADC but the regional body first needed to consolidate its organisational structures before accommodating new member states. He did not say which other countries, apart from Uganda, had applied for membership. “We may look at admitting them at a later stage but we need to work on other issues right now,” he added. Recently SADC officials said they were taking a cautious approach to expansion because of the regional bloc’s low annual economic growth rate which was already hampering efforts to tackle issues like poverty and unemployment.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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