Reclaiming SADC for People’ s Development

IMG_4080Displaying that indeed they have the power in their hands to influence regional policies by offering alternatives to those that negatively affect their livelihoods, an impassioned group of both the young and old ascended to Gaborone, Botswana for two days, from the 15th to 16th of August, for the SADC people’s summit held close to the 35th SADC Summit which was held on August 17 and 18, 2015. The people’s summit intended to draft a communiqué/declaration that would include concerns and demands that were handed over to the SADC Secretariat for consideration. In good faith, we believe that the declaration would be put to good use by the powers that are supposed to represent the betterment of the SADC communities.

This group of about 500 delegates drawn from community-based organizations (CBO’s), women organizations, students, and human rights networks from across the Southern African region were brought together by the Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network to engage in robust dialogues that highlighted the challenges faced by people in the region as well as possible considerations for the states leaders. These emerged from engagements that were centered on : Tax Justice and the fight against Illicit Financial Flows; The African Solidarity Caravan; Deepening a Culture of Pan-African People-to-People Solidarity; Economic Empowerment and Development Freedoms; Human Security (Violence, Peace Building and Human trafficking) and Financing for Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals agenda (Health, Education and Agriculture), among others.

As part of this group that contributed to the contents of the declaration, the ACTION Support Centre brought to the assembly’s attention that regional solidarity is of utmost importance and therefore whilst vouching for consideration of other issues, the communiqué should also push for a borderless Africa that would unite people instead of dividing them.