The Southern African Development Community (SADC) started as Frontline States whose objective was political liberation of Southern Africa. SADC was preceded by the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC), which was formed in Lusaka, Zambia on April 01, 1980 with the adoption of the Lusaka Declaration (Southern Africa: Towards Economic Liberation).
The formation of SADCC was the culmination of a long process of consultations by the leaders of the then only majority ruled countries of Southern Africa, thus Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia, working together as Frontline States. In May 1979 consultations were held between Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers responsible for Economic Development in Gaborone, Botswana. Subsequently a meeting was held in Arusha, Tanzania in July 1979 which led to the establishment of SADCC.
On August 17, 1992, at their Summit held in Windhoek, Namibia, the Heads of State and Government signed the SADC Treaty and Declaration that effectively transformed the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) into the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The objective also shifted to include economic integration following the independence of the rest of the Southern African countries.
Currently SADC has a membership of 15 Member States, namely; Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Population size : 257, 726,000 (257.7 Million inhabitants)
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) : 471,118 US$ billion (471.1 US$ billion)
SADC's Vision is that of a common future, a future within a regional community that will ensure economic well-being, improvement of the standards of living and quality of life, freedom and social justice and peace and security for the people of Southern Africa. This shared vision is anchored on the common values and principles and the historical and cultural affinities that exist between the people of Southern Africa.
The SADC Mission is to promote sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development through efficient productive systems, deeper co-operation and integration, good governance, and durable peace and security, so that the region emerges as a competitive and effective player in international relations and the world economy.
The Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and the Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ (SIPO) remain the frameworks for SADC Regional integration that provide SADC Member States with a consistent and comprehensive programme of long-term economic and social policies, and at the same time, it provides the SADC Secretariat and other SADC Institutions insights of SADC approved economic and social policies and priorities.
The RISDP reaffirms the commitment of SADC Member States to good political, economic and corporate governance entrenched in a culture of democracy, full participation by civil society, transparency and respect for the rule of law. In this context, the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) is embraced as a credible and relevant Continental framework, and the RISDP as SADC’s Regional expression and vehicle for achieving the ideals contained therein. The RISDP emphasises that good political, economic and corporate governance are prerequisites for sustainable socio-economic development, and that SADC’s quest for poverty eradication and deeper integration levels will not be realised in the absence of good governance.
The Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation plays a vanguard role as part of the institutional mechanisms for promoting and maintaining peace and stability in the region and the SIPO provides the institutional framework for the daily implementation of the Organ’s Objectives.
The SIPO, alongside the SADC Mutual Defence Pact of 2004 guides the implementation of the Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. The SIPO is divided into four main sectors of Political; Defence; State Security; and Public Security.
SADC comprises eight (8) Institutions, namely, the Summit of Heads of State & Government, SADC Tribunal, Council of Ministers, Organ on Politics, Defence & Security Cooperation, Sectoral/Cluster Ministerial Committees, SADC Secretariat, Standing Committee of Senior Officials, and SADC National Committees.
With its chairpersonship held on a rotational basis, SADC applies the Troika system from Summit, the Organ, Council and the Ministerial Committee of the Organ (MCO) as well as the Senior Officials level.
The SADC Troika System vests authority in the incumbent Chairperson, Incoming Chairperson who is the Deputy Chairperson at the time and the immediate Previous Chairperson to take quick decisions on behalf of SADC that are ordinarily taken at policy meetings scheduled at intervals stipulated by the Articles 10, 11 and 13 of the Treaty. This also applies to the Troika of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and when combined, the two are referred to as the Double Troika.
At multilateral level, SADC continues to enjoy mutually beneficial cooperation at Continental and international level. In this regard, at the April 2006 Consultative Conference, SADC and its International Cooperating Partners (ICPs) adopted the Windhoek Declaration, which is a Framework for a New Partnership between SADC and its ICPs.
This Declaration encompasses the establishment of Thematic Groups as a platform to give attention to specific priority by SADC and ICPs interested in particular areas an opportunity for pooling resources for implementing specific programmes in areas of common interest.