Malawi is developing a roadmap to align all its national policies and strategies to cater for regional integration processes and protocols of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) under the Strengthening National Regional Linkages (SNRL) programmes.
Local and international experts suggest the move will bolster intra – regional trade and economic development towards the realization of broader continental vision of the African Union, that is based on inclusive growth and sustainable development through the fifty-year vision called Agenda 2063.
Luckie Sikwese, Principal Secretary for Foreign Affairs told participants during a gathering in Salima recently that brought key players together to map the way forward towards reviving a framework for the SADC National Committee (SNC), and analyze modalities that would allow the Ministry to operationalize the roadmap at country level.
“Malawi will be chairing SADC next year in August, 2021, this is an opportune time to revive the local SNC as momentum will be very high,” explained Sikwese adding, “I encourage the attendees to work diligently on this important endeavour in order to achieve necessary outcomes and work towards creating a vibrant SNC,” he told participants during his inaugural speech.
Sikwese reminded the participants the local SNC chapter was established in 2016, but it lacked the necessary structure to make it more functional, efficient and vibrant. He was quick to warn the audience that Malawi is good at developing good policies and strategies but poor at implementation level. Therefore, his ministry, he said, will remain highly alert this time around to ensure that the SNC plan is put into real action. Sikwese expressed his ministry’s readiness to learn from other member states, such as Zambia. Success of SNC according to Sikwese will be based on what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will do as part of the roadmap to operationalize the SNC, and deliver Malawi’s SADC commitments.
Ishmael Chiposyo, a GIZ interim coordinator based at SADC secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana observed that SNRL programmes in most member states faced obstacles as there are no resources enough for regional integration initiatives.
Chiposyo cited for instance findings from an earlier study commissioned in 2013 in Lilongwe on Malawi’s SNC challenges.
*Malawi is good at developing good policies and strategies but poor at implementation level. Therefore, his ministry, he said, will remain highly alert this time around to ensure that the SNC plan is put into real action.**
“The general public were not well sensitized enough about SADC and its programmes. The public considered SADC as an organisation that centred on government agenda. It was in this regard that a sensitisation campaign needed to be inculcated in the Malawi SNC framework not only to increase awareness about SADC activities, but also make the public know that SADC agenda was also theirs” he told the participants.
“It is for this reason that SNRL project is assisting Malawi, and now it had registered successes in two areas: the SADC industrialization change project, and the capacity – building in effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation of SADC protocol on fisheries.” Chiposyo narrated on a positive note.
As part of mainstreaming regional integration locally, recently established National Planning Commission and other organizations like the National Initiative for Civil Education will be the target institutions of SNRL, in the case of Malawi.
The government of Germany (BMZ), GIZ, European Union and SADC are working in partnership to implement the initiative.