VICTORIA, Mahe – Seychelles Vice President, Mr. Danny Faure, and a Seychelles delegation have successfully lobbied for Southern African Development Community (SADC) recognition of the threat that piracy poses to the region at the 30th SADC Jubilee Summit of Heads of State and Government that took place in Windhoek, Namibia, last week.
The SADC communiqué that emerged from the summit not only recognizes the economic and security threat that piracy has on Seychelles, Mauritius, and Tanzania but it also calls for a team of technical experts to be sent to the affected countries to evaluate the extent of the threat and the damage done in order to recommend appropriate measures.
“We were able to put the issue on the table, and now the summit has mandated the Secretariat to come to Seychelles and see the real effects on the ground so that they may establish actions based on their findings,” said Vice President Faure. “We anticipate the arrival of these experts before the end of the year, perhaps even as soon as September.”
The Principal Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, who accompanied the Vice President as part of the delegation said, “We have been working hard to bring this threat to the attention of our partners, neighbors, regional organizations, and indeed the world, through our recent symposium and workshops held in Seychelles, and we are very pleased to now get SADC on board.”
“If there is one thing I learned at this summit, it is the unity that exists between the leaders gathered. Though they do not agree on everything, they are unified regardless and that has become the fundamental strength of SADC. Such unity is key to tackling piracy in the region,” added Amb. Lalanne when asked about the importance of SADC support for Seychelles.
The summit also discussed the political situation in the region, and the efforts undertaken by SADC to consolidate democracy, peace, and security throughout.
A proposal made to establish a liaison office in Madagascar to facilitate ongoing dialogue between the warring parties was adopted by the summit. With regards to Zimbabwe, the summit called on member states to lobby the international community to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe as sanctions are seen as an impediment towards the deepening of regional integration in the region.
The primary objective of SADC remains the Free Trade Area in order to deepen long-term regional integration, which will in turn accelerate economic growth and reduce poverty for millions of people living on the continent. SADC launched the Free Trade Area in 2008 with eleven of the fifteen member states. Even though Seychelles is not currently a member of the SADC Free Trade Area, Seychelles is currently contemplating signing the SADC Trade Protocol, which will eventually take us on board. Seychelles also commended the efforts undertaken for the establishment of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite FTA, which will address the problem of multiple memberships.
The summit also reaffirmed commitment to establish the SADC Customs Union following recommendations from the SADC Task force constituting of high-level experts from member states.
The SADC Summit also reviewed progress on the socio-economic situation in the region with particular focus on the impact of the global economic crisis on the region, food security, climate change, HIV and AIDS, and Gender and Development. With regards to Climate Change, the Summit reiterated SADC’s support of the African Common Negotiating position on the global Climate Change regime after the expiry of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012.