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The role of regional economic communities in the implementation of NEPAD:
the case of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)

SADC Secretariat, Gaborone, Botswana

21 October 2004

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The NEPAD Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue essentially marks the end of the formative years of NEPAD. After this meeting, NEPAD has to enter the phase of consolidating its programme activities and increasing the momentum of their implementation.

Regional Economic Communities are building blocks of the African Union. Through them, an African Economic Community will eventually be created. In addition to this, Regional Economic Communities are implementers of the NEPAD programme. With this responsibility, Regional Economic Communities moved quickly to embrace NEPAD as soon as it was adopted as a continental programme of economic, political and social transformation by the July, 2001 OAU Summit of Lusaka, Zambia.

This paper illustrates the role of Regional Economic Communities in the NEPAD programme by outlining the actions taken by the Southern African development Community.

SADC embraces the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) as a credible development framework for African States that consolidates and accelerates their economic growth. Among other things, the Initiative calls for the reversal of the abnormal situation of very high poverty rates, high mortality rates of children under 5 years of age, low life expectancy rates at birth, low literacy rates, limited access to safe water and poor infrastructure. NEPAD advocates for the reduction of the dept burden and the dependency of Africa on aid and marginal concessions, thereby enhancing the potential for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and self-sustaining development.

From the conceptualization to the development and advocating of the NEPAD Initiative, SADC played and continues to play a very active role at the levels of the African Union, at the regional level, at programme level as well as at global level marketing the Initiative for support and partnership.

The development and launching of NEPAD in 2001 coincided with the formulation of SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), which was guided by the objectives, principles and priorities embodied in that development framework. Therefore, from the outset SADC, has undertaken to coordinate and synchronize the implementation of the RISDP with that of NEPAD.

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