By Diana Kawendu, from Mabelreign Girls High School in Zimbabwe.
The Southern African Development Committee was formally called Southern African development and co-ordinating conference. It was initiated in an attempt to achieve economic independence, economic growth and development in the sub-region. As clearly stated by President Jose Eduardo dos Santos: “Our unity of effort in the struggle for economic independence of our people becomes the necessary condition to guarantee our own sovereignty and security. The successes which SADCC can achieve constitute a great contribution to the struggle of the peoples of Southern Africa against oppression, exploitation and discrimination”.
The Southern African Development Community initially was based on economic growth. It wanted to reduce economic dependence and forge links to create a genuine and equitable regional integration. The member states also wanted to mobilize the region’s resources in order to promote implementation of national, interstate and regional policies. They also wanted concerted action to secure international co-operation within the overall strategy of economic liberation.
The summit of Head of states and government headed the former SADCC. It was aided by the council of ministers and lastly there was a committee that included officials from member countries. In order to ensure that all member states shared all responsibilities of co-ordinating the activities of SADCC, a programme of Action was put in place.
There were nine member group states Angola was responsible for the energy conversation and development. Botswana was responsible for the agricultural research and animal disease control within the Southern African region, Malawi was responsible for its fisheries, wildlife and forestry. Mozambique was accountable for the transport and communication of the regions development. Swaziland was responsible for the human resource development with the help of Tanzania that was responsible for industrial development. Zambia was responsible for the mining and Southern African development fund. Zimbabwe was responsible for food security.
With the further independence of Namibia in 1989 and that of South Africa in 1994 the Southern African development and co-ordinating conference was now known as Southern African development community. The SADC also wanted to promote political co-operation among member states and the evolution of common political value systems and institutions. The SADC also aimed at the enhancement of the development of democratic institutions and also the promotion of peace. At present date the members are as follows: Zimbabwe, Tanzania, South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Seychelles.
The SADC region’s group members can also be termed as the low economically developed countries. Poverty is one of the main features of the latter countries. Poverty is the defined as the state of being poor or lack of money or goods. The Human development report of 1999 once described the features that dominated the low economically developed countries or rather most members of the southern Africa have been observant “In developing countries, one person in three lives in poverty. Even basic social services, primary healthcare, basic education, safe drinking water and adequate nutrition are not available to more than one billion people.”
Poverty is characterized by conditions of shortages of basic social services such as hospitals, education, creation of shanty towns, high birth rates and death rates due to pandemics and inadequate nutrition.
Most member group countries experience lack of education facilities and thus leading to high crime levels and prostitution, which is also the sign of poverty. With the increase in poverty it is characterized by the prevalence of pandemics such as AIDS. This is why the president of South Africa said “The cause of AIDS becoming a pandemic in sub-Saharan region is because of poverty.” So one feature of poverty is the prevalence of diseases not only AIDS but some water borne diseases.
Poverty within the Southern African region has been caused by flooding. For example, one of the member states in SADC which is Mozambique has been a victim of recurring floods. This has caused poverty in Mozambique as there is a great amount of crop destruction, resulting in people being undernourished and also the destruction of infrastructure, leaving people within this country to build shanty towns.
Drought has also contributed to poverty in the Southern African region. Drought has led to the energy crisis and at present because of the climatic change. It has lowered water levels in dams powering hydro power stations. This has also affected investment and has threatened expansion plans of companies that have invested within the region. To some extent it has resulted in the closure of many manufacturing Industry and by so doing creating unemployment which results in poverty.
There are some political reasons which state the reasons for poverty in the southern African region. The Colonisation of Africa has led to poverty. Africans were robbed of their means of production which was the land that formed the basis of the African continent’s economy. Poverty struck Africans to an extent that they were perceived as tools in the form of the provision of labour. The dispossession of Africans left them settling in arid lands where crops cultivation was difficult, leading to poverty.
The other reason why the Southern African region is poverty stricken is because of the lack of basic education. The levels of illiteracy in the member group states are quite high. It is because of lack of knowledge the people in this region cannot develop themselves. Even though some have the opportunity to acquire knowledge, knowledge that the southern African region provides is the semi-skilled employment. Although some countries like Zimbabwe have set up practical subjects in schools like woodwork and technical graphics, the setting up of such an education system that was meant for the semi-skilled is actually colonially inclined. This form of education has found some being retrenched and left unemployed resulting in a low source of income and poverty.
Another economic factor that has contributed to poverty is the inability by some group states to attract capital investment. This has contributed to the lack of capital. To some extent this has led to inflation, which also discourages capital investment and economic growth.
Gender imbalance in the society is still a contributing factor to poverty. There is still need for women within the Southern African Development region to be educated and be asserted to high position of authority. Although this is present in Zimbabwe whereby the vice president is a lady, there is need to educate more women and take them to higher levels because women in southern Africa have generated 60% of the economy. It is estimated that over a year women in Tanzania do 3060 hours of work compared to 1829 hours by men. Therefore as stated earlier gender inequality greatly contributes to poverty.
When the Southern African Development and co-ordinating Conference was still in operation it was able to address poverty within the regions in different ways. By 1987 when group member states met at least 500 projects covering the sector of agriculture, natural resources, industry and commerce were identified and implemented. This created jobs and therefore improved the environment of group member states hence poverty in this instance was addressed.
SADCC was founded on the development of transport networks and links. The Beira Corridor of Maputo was rehabilitated. Again this was implemented in Mozambique, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Lobito in Angola. With the rehabilitation of these parts poverty was to some extent addressed as it saw the innovative moves taken by these countries by refurbishing the structure of towns and providing services.
The SADC at present has summed up all their problems caused by poverty for instance the president of South Africa referred to the AIDS pandemic as being the cause of poverty due to shortages of drugs in Africa. There is a rampant spread of AIDS in Africa resulting in poverty. There is an increase in mortality rate. This leaves child headed families who are unable to fund for themselves thus increasing poverty in Africa.
Since poverty is caused by lack of education or is charaterised by low levels of illiteracy in a bid to fight poverty, the SADC member states at present have been able to make changes in the education sector. Countries such as Zimbabwe and Namibia have set up exchange programmes for training teachers. At present most teachers colleges in Zimbabwe have enrolled students from other countries. This has been one way of eradicating poverty.
The political unrest within the member group has also contributed to poverty since most resources are destroyed leaving people in a needy state. The SADC member states have been able to address this cause of poverty that slows development at national and regional stage. Two countries including DRC have signed peace keeping agreements whereby the Zimbabwean soldiers were sent to DRC on a mission to try and maintain peace. This has been one way of addressing poverty. If peace is maintained through development takes place thus lowering levels of poverty.
One way that the SADC group member states have used to alleviate poverty is the ability to promote small to medium enterprises. With the promotion of small to medium enterprises the people of the region have found means of being able to sustain themselves. In Zimbabwe the annually held International Trade Fair has been able to address poverty as it has been able to promote small sectors thus creating employment. It has been able to bring the group member states to meet and share ideas as to what can be done to improve the economic and social sector of the region which has also been a way of addressing poverty by trying to improve the living conditions of the people in Africa and by so doing eradiating poverty.
The SADC also took poverty from a political perspective whereby poverty has been caused by the inaccessibility of the means of production and countries like Zimbabwe have engaged in the land re-distribution in the year 2000 as a way of eradicating poverty within the African society. The United Nations Economic Commission for African countries promotes access to land by citizenship so as to spur economic development on the continent. The UNECA southern director Ms Jennifer Kargbo mentions that land was vital tool for economic development for most African countries that are predominantly agro-base. “Land re distribution was a good policy for empowering Africans to own land and be productive. Most African countries have been able to empower their people by giving them land so as to fight poverty.
The SADC member group states have decided to meet and discuss ways of increasing productivity. That way poverty is slowly eradicated since when productivity increases, there is an increase in food supply. This therefore means there is no need to regard mal-nutrition and under nutrition as one way of describing poverty. A meeting was held in Lasala by the UNEC policy experts in accelerating Africa’s development to meet the MDG’s challenges and the way forward for southern Africa. This was in a bid to review with member states challenges faced by member states in achieving the MDG’s and address the impact of macro economics policies and the linkages to job creation.
Poverty is primarily of the peoples own making in the case of Southern Africa group member states where political instability is prevalent. The SADC member group states met in order to address the need for political stability, so as to curb poverty. SADC has realized that the economic problem in Zimbabwe whereby there is a high inflation rate leading to poverty, is as a result of bilateral dispute with Britain, mainly arising from the land issue. On the political situation of the country the summit mandated President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa to continue to facilitate dialogue between the opposition party MDC and the ruling government and report back to the group responsible for defence, politics and security on its progress. This has been a way proposed to further its economic group, thus eradicating poverty.
With promoting economic growth so as to alleviate poverty during the congress in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, the member groups discussed the political situation in Democratic Republic of Congo. President Joseph Kabila and the Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, resolved to render unconditional support to Mr. Kabila’s government. In its quest to restore law and order, maintain peace and stability and spearhead national reconstruction, thus fight poverty. The SADC re affirmed the right of the DRC to have a single national army and urged former vice president Jean Pierre Bemba to integrate his remaining armed elements into the national army or to be demobilized. In this manner, in a bid to maintain peace, the Southern African group states will be creating a staircase reaching economic development and if economic development is achieved then poverty comes to a halt.
The leaders President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi, President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique, President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia, the Prime Minister of Swaziland Themba Dhlamini and Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia and other member groups mainly be iterated then the rule of law in the DRC must be observed and respectful by all parties in conformity with accepted international conditions not only in DRC but in the region as a whole to promote peace fighting poverty.
Now steps can be taken by the SADC and its member groups to change its state of poverty. The Free Trade agreement is one of the regions aims that they are intending to put in place. This is a brilliant idea that can boost the economy of the Southern African Region. It swallows for the gradual ending of tariff barriers and most other barriers. This provides free trade which will increase the rate of economic growth and fight poverty. This is a commitment to liberalise trade in services and to facilitate investment flows between the countries which will contribute to the end of poverty.
Although steps have been taken by some member groups to emancipate women by putting them in high positions of authority to end poverty it is essential for some member groups to follow suit. With particular reference in Zimbabwe the vice president Cde. Joyce Mujuru is a woman and since she is in power she has taken steps to alleviate poverty. She has managed to incorporate women into small co-operatives involving poultry and horticulture activities. This can also be one way that the other member states groups can emulate so as to eradicate poverty, because by empowering women there is bound to be economic growth.
Within the Southern African region women are the ones who are heads of the family as their male counterparts migrate to urban areas in search of work and prosperity. Women within the Sub-Saharan region are responsible for 60% of food production. Women by virtue of being made leaders by heading the family and knowing well the improvements that are needed within the agricultural sector. This will further boost the economy and poverty will be eradicated.
The SADC region can eradicate poverty by only increasing economic growth. This economic growth can be achieved by the improvement, improvisation, innovation and invention to encourage economic development. China for instance, was a country that was overpopulated and this presented a problem of poverty. Today China boasts as the “world factor and an inventing nation because during the cultural revolution of China it was a closed nation with its own brand of economic, social and political activity. The period was infamous for cultural and social turmoil but economically the country made a Chinese version of every product.
Economic experimentation was conducted away from the vagaries of global markets and competition which can be done on regional level within the Southern African region group member states and promote economic growth within the region. This trade protectionism in China understood that for a bad product to survive another day, it must find a market. This explains the importance of closed markets for batching local products and pioneering development.
The economy was producing mainly poor quality goods to the extent that by 1989, China had a campaign against shoddy goods. Companies were at different stages of technological development. Regional and nationals of Africa in southern Africa must be careful not to set very high standards that disqualify our own people from participating in the economic race therefore empowering the nations own incentives on production development and thus putting an end to poverty.
The Chinese were making economic experiment through trial and error. Out of experimentation came mastery and out of mastery emerged the economic revolution that is founded on the strengths and knowledge of the indigenous people of China. This is exactly what the southern African region needs for economic growth at national level. The SADC should also note that what is important is that economic development of countries is not solely dependent on human resources but needs a principled long term perspective that recognizes the stages of development.
A domestic economy must be developed under policies that favour local companies. An example is Zimbabwe with diamonds which have been discovered therefore can take the expensive rate of buying its way to technological advancement and thus empowering the economy and solving the problem of poverty.
One sign of poverty within the Southern African region is the strain on resources. It is a region that is facing energy shortages as climatic changes intermittently turn off the switch on hydro electric power generation results in the oil prices remaining exorbitantly high. However, in such a situation with the extraction of minerals such as uranium, poverty can be fought.
A country like Tanzania has a problem to energy crisis. In Tanzania, a member state, the energy crisis came to a point where urbanites had to endure eighteen hour power cuts and some industrialists considered closing up and this led to low levels of employment and low levels of productivity which are essential in economic growth to curb poverty. But Tanzania’s among the energy rich uranium deposits along the Mkuja River. Poverty will persist in Tanzania if they allow the Australian uranium mantra resources in exploiting this uranium. Tanzania on its own should start exploiting its minerals and promote indigenous mineral growth. Regionally countries can also exploit uranium such as Zambia, Mozambique and DRC which should make use of uranium. This will enable the further generation of energy power and will increase productivity which is the solution to poverty.
Regionally the SADC member states can address the problem of poverty by further redesigning the school curriculum. Although subjects with reference to Zimbabwe have been put in place such as food and nutrition and woodwork, there is a need to bring in subjects like motor mechanics and cell phone networking. This promotes economic growth leading to alleviation of poverty.
The SADC should also have a bunk or fund of its own whereby the member group states contribute to monthly, quarterly or yearly instead of depending on the First world powers. This will enable the SADC to promote small medium enterprises for economic growth. Economic emancipation which is an alternative way of fighting poverty results in self dependence.
The SADC is well equipped in eradicating poverty. It has the resources and facilities. What is needed is for SADC to stick to their objectives always and promote co-operation from each member state.
Second Best Essay
By Gerald Chimbga, from Kuwadzana 2 High School in Zimbabwe
The Southern African Development Community is a group of Southern African nations that collaborate to fight social, political and economic problems hindering development in the region. It is made up of ex-colonial of Europe Powers that found it worthwhile to put heads together on how to reshape the way of life paralysed by the imperialists.
The SADC has thirteen Southern African Countries which are Zimbabwe, Angola, Zambia, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo and Seychelles. Most countries were given a responsibility to carry out towards economic advancement. Angola was given the responsibility of energy conservation and development, Botswana Agricultural Research and Animal Disease control, Malawi Fisheries, Wildlife and Forestry Management, Mozambique – Transport and Communications, Lesotho – Soil and water conservation, Land utilization and tourism, Swaziland – Human Resources Development, Tanzania – Industrial Development, Zambia- -Mining and Southern African Development and Zimbabwe was given the breadbasket status.
The SADC was formerly the Southern African Development Co-ordinating Conference (SADCC) before Namibia and South Africa were independent. It was later translated to SADC after the independence of Namibia, in 1989 and after the advent of new democratic order in South Africa (1994). The membership continued to grow as DRC and Seychelles were admitted into the SADC membership in 1997.
The main objectives of the SADC are the protection of the people and safeguarding the development of the region against internal political instability, interstate conflict and eternal aggression, the promotion of political co-operation among member states and the evolution of common political value systems and institutions, the promotion and enhancement of the development of democratic institutions and practices within member states and the encouragement of the observance of the universal human rights as provided for in the charter and conventions of the AU and the United Nations, the promotion of peace-making and peace- keeping in order to achieve sustainable political stability and to co-operate on sustainable economic development.
However, it is evident that SADC member states are failing to settle many problems chief among them being poverty. Almost every SADC member state has got a higher percentage of poor people who can afford a comfortable way of life. This is because of which are beyond the control of member countries.
Many SADC member countries are hindered by the imposition of economic sanctions owing to several reasons. This exposes the member countries to hardships such as failure to get certain commodities and failure to access assistance from donor agents and non-governmental organizations which are there to help suffering countries. This results in poverty among the people in the SADC.
Brain-drain is extensively hindering development in SADC member states. They spent a lot of scarce Foreign currency on the education of students who after finishing studying, go on to work in richer countries for better salaries, better employment opportunity and better lining and working conditions. Consequently, the affected countries would be left with inadequately skilled workforce that can not speed up economic and technology development. This results in economic decline and lack of foreign currency to import several commodities and machinery.
Poor technology in SADC member countries is unquestionably resulting in poverty. This is because poor technology catalyses failure in producing necessary commodities, industrial fatigue and high expenditure on importation which directly lead to unemployment and brain-drain which are catalyst of poverty in the SADC.
Poor knowledge and education is also contributing to poverty in the SADC. The member countries have got a lot of resource which are not being utilized due to poor know-how. The resources can be used in sourcing the much needed foreign currency which can help eradicating poverty. Member states lack knowledge to apply in primary and secondary industries. They lack knowledge on how to curb problems that hinder farming such as drought, Frost, pests, diseases and floods that result in severe food security.
Economic decline in SADC member countries is usually due to corruption and monopoly. Corruption is now hindering any sector in SADC countries and this result in poor economic development, poor utilization of government funds and high rates of inflation. Due to poor industrial development, member countries are infested with transnational companies which monopolize their fields, employ professionals from mother countries and retain profits to their mother countries is a great dement to the host country. Monopoly and corruption result in a situation whereby the few rich people get richer and the rest who are poor get poorer. This also results in unemployment and poor education due to corrupt tendencies in selecting employees and disadvantaged students to get scholarships. It also scares away donor agents from offering assistance.
SADC Member countries have the scourges of high death rates, high infant mortality and low life expectancy due to poverty. There are poor and expensive medical facilities in the countries, hence many people die of curable diseases. Poor diet, poor immunization and poor sanitation are spearheading the above named disasters.
Population migration which is as a result of poverty is a major problem in the SADC. Many people move abroad to greener pastures, hence teaching mostly dependent people in mother countries which force the government to fish out a lot of money for the welfare of those people and not for national development, hence the persistence of national poverty. Many people are often prosecuted for illegal migration due to the prominent poverty.
SADC member countries are characterized by high rates of criminal countries chiefly due to poverty. Theft, burglary, fraud, corruption, robbery and panning are a result of poverty and many breadwinners are jailed also accelerating poverty. Sky-rocketing accidents are chiefly as a result of poverty. Accidents are usually caused by unroad-worthy vehicles that are affordable to poor people. They are also caused by over loading and speeding due to the unavailability and cost of descent transport. Fraud is due to workers who make efforts to supplement salaries to eradicate poverty.
Sadc member countries have poor lining conditions due to poverty. Many people in the region can not access descent clothing due to poverty. Illiteracy is prominent in
The member states since many people fail to access formal education. Ill health is also prominent in these countries due to poor health delivery systems. Many people in these countries can not afford life-easing devices such a radices, computers, televisions, vehicles, refrigerators and washing machines which makes life enjoyable.
Poverty in SADC member countries is accentuating occupational hazards. Many people work in mines and factories without protective clothing and suitable machinery resulting in accidents and ill- health of workers. Many employees work for more than twelve hours a day in order to supplement salaries, but this is rather fruitless in eradicating poverty due to sky-rocketing inflation.
SADC countries are facing so many problems due to poor economies. They are failing to host worldwide events die to poor infrastructure and technology. Also, the countries are occasionally failing to send delegates to attend several meetings in Africa and abroad directly because of poor funding and racism. This results in poverty.
Sadc took so many approaches in solving problems undermining development in the region. It managed to allocate each nation a responsibility to take towards economic integration. It managed to ensure that every nation smoothly carry out its responsibility without interference. It managed to establish meeting to discuss issues undermining development in the region and possible solutions.
The SADC managed to share a lot on agriculture and Resettlement. Many countries came to Zimbabwe to learn a lot about its illustrious land reform Programme and operation Maguta which reveals mutual co-operation on Agriculture.
The SADC has achieved a lot on sport. It managed to establish the Cosafa Castle Cup for SADC Member countries only. This enables SADC to share ideas and experiences. Also, SADC despite racism managed to have some of its countries on the soccer and the cricket world competitions and did considerably well. The SADC countries managed to support each other until South Africa was given the opportunity to host the 2010 World Cup Soccer Tournament which is an emaculate achievement. Better still, all SADC countries, especially Zimbabwe will benefit from that soccer showcase.
The SADC has achieved a lot on transport. It managed to establish road and airline links for easy transport and this encourages smooth running of events and trade. Also the establishment of the code sharing on air transport from different SADC nations is a great achievement.
SADC Member States have achieved a lot in terms of trade. They are managing to trade a variety of goods amongst each other and share ideas on areas of trade. They are managing to allow trade unionists, accountants, economists, actuaries and other professionals from all member countries to meet and share experiences. Students from the SADC member states feel free to carry out their tertiary studies at any university in any country which contributes to spread of knowledge and social interaction. Better still, professionals from any field, be it sport, Finance, health or engineering feel free to work in any Member State without any form of racism.
The SADC have partially succeeded in maintaining political stability and avoiding racism. SADC managed to avoid civil wars among Member States and peace is prevailing, although a few political are occurring in other Member States like Zimbabwe. Growth of membership also witnessed the prevalence of peace in the SADC region. One recent and most important achievement is the support SADC has given to Zimbabwe to attain chairmanship at the United Nations on economic integration despite its political problems. This reveals mutual cooperation on political issues.
Although so many problems are prevailing in the SADC, Governments of member states can take several approaches to solve the problems. Solving the scourge of brain drain can positively impact the way of life of the SADC people. The relevant authorities must take several actions towards putting brain drain to a sudden halt. This enables professionals to develop their countries. Designing a benefit from brain drain is quite versatile. This can be achieved by taxes to professional migrants, high annual taxes on professionals in the diaspora and not allowing recipients to receive professionals in a silver plate. This will boost the income of much needed foreign currency and alleviate poverty.
The member states must be strict on corruption, monopoly and inflation and establish commissions which prosecute those who spear head these scourges. If these criminal activities are put to a sudden halt, the economies of the member states considerably and thereby eliminating poverty.
The SADC Member countries must attempts by all means to improve industrial development. This can be best achieved by welcoming foreign investors from developed countries to establish industries and firms thereby curbing unemployment, poor health delivery, brain drain, inflation, economic sanctions, devaluation of local currency and illiteracy. Importing skilled labour also plays a pivotal role on improving the health delivery system, food availability and ceasing industrial fatigue and poverty.
Settling political issues can help stop the imposition of economic sanctions by prosperous countries thereby alleviating poverty. This encourages non governmental organizations to freely invest in the countries and help in the health, education, transport, employment creation, food security, mining, farming and industrial sectors and consequently curbing ill-health, high death rate, infant mortality, brain drain, illiteracy, unemployment, occupational hazards, food scarcity and industrial fatigue hence eradicating poverty.
Relevant organizations and donor agents must help in settling problems in the SADC region. They must help in the healthy delivery systems, for instance World Health Organization, must help reduce people’s spending on health, hence eradicating poverty. Donor agents such as SIDA and the K international must help in times of food deficit thereby reducing hunger and starvation. However, all the SADC Member States should make efforts to create conducive atmosphere for these non state actors, one of which is settling political problems. Stopping corrupt tendencies on these funds is a pre – requisite on reducing poverty and welcoming the volunteers.
The SADC as a whole must help in solving problems in their region. I think it is worthwhile for SADC to introduce a central fund that would be much enough to help member countries in drought, floods economic sanctions and any other epidemics. This will help reduce poverty and its effects.
The European Union members charge no tariffs on their trade. I think it is worthwhile for SADC to take such code of conduct to allow good flow of trade among SADC Member States. I think it is worthwhile for SADC to allow each other to purchase certain commodities in their own currency through the establishment of clearing houses like what PTA achieved. In my opinion, I think it is versatile for SADC as a commodity to learn from similar communities such as EU, ECOWAS and COMESA on different issues such as administration, trade, economic integration and peace keeping.
SADC as a community must efficiently solve political issues prevailing in some countries and help cub foreign interference and maintain independence. This will also help in ceasing the imposition of economic sanctions.
In SADC, there is a problem that South Africa dominates in most areas of trade, mining, fishery, sport and industry. South Africa must not take it as an opportunity to oppress other countries. It must help other countries on key areas such as education, health, food security, employment opportunity, industry and transport. This helps lessening poverty.
SADC must also establish a peace keeping force to help member countries in times of elections and political violence. This ensures that peace prevails in the SADC region since the same force could help in preventing foreign interference.
SADC must make sure that people from any member state faces no difficulty in moving to another in order to allow social interaction and gaining of employment opportunities. This will help reduce poverty.
SADC as a community I trying by all means to solve all existing problems, but this is being hindered by several problems. I hope some problems would be over some years to come. It has achieved a lot on peace maintenance, education, transport energy, food security, tourism, industry and trade. Only drawbacks such as political instability, economic sanctions, corruption and racism are negatively impacting production.
Third Best Essay
By John Paul Palmers, from the Maua Seminary in the United Republic of Tanzania.
SADC is an association of eleven countries from Central, Eastern and Southern Africa. It is an acronym of the Southern African Development Community formed in April 1993 to replace the former Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC). The Member states which form the present community include Angola, Lesotho, Botswana, Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Madagascar, The Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of South Africa. The community was formed with objectives that cover economic and political spheres.
The first objective of SADC is to help member states secure genuine and equitable regional integration through creation of solidarity among the partner states. SADC aimed at encouraging member states to share different ideas and skills concerning social, political and economic spheres of life.
To develop agriculture and industries, most of the partner states depend mostly on agriculture for their income. For example Tanzania has 80% of her people depending on agriculture thus the community aimed at facilitating market for crops and other agricultural goods. This was to be done through widening range of markets.
Also, the association aimed at promoting peace and security among the partners. Member states agreed with one another to make efforts on maintaining peace and security for conducive environment to facilitate economic activities so as to ensure development within the member states and other African countries.
Furthermore, SADC aimed at developing transport and communication systems within the member states. The development of infrastructures meant an easy flow of trade goods from one region to another and the flow of labour force for maximum utilisation of natural resources within member states.
On top of that, the association also aimed at promoting international cooperation for the purpose of addressing socio-economic as well as political matters. International co-operation is very good and important for the betterment of all countries in the world especially the developing countries, SADC included.
Reduction of dependence on the developed countries: The member states realized that economic dependence always lead to domination by imperialist nations. The member states decided to have their won decision on economic and other affairs within their countries.
SADC has well tried to implement its aims and objectives but there is one major problem which faces not only the SADC members but also countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa in general. This problem hinders all efforts done to achieve full implementation of the community’s aims. This problem is poverty.
Poverty is one of the three great enemies named by the Late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere. He identified three enemies which are poverty, disease and ignorance as the basic enemies of the development of any nation.
At individual level, poverty is the state of being unable to afford the basic necessities of life namely food, clothing and shelter. At national level, poverty is stated as the condition where a country is unable to be economically independent hence depending on external sources to finance its basic need for its survival as a nation. Poverty is caused by many different factors some of which include:
Price fluctuation of raw materials in the world market; this is the situation whereby the prices of commodities rise and fall irregularly. Many SADC members depend on exportation of raw materials such as sisal and coffee to the world market. With price fluctuation, the members earn little income for equitable development which leads to poverty.
Neo-colonialism; this is a situation in which one country is dominated by another economically. It works mainly through international loans and aids. All these worsen the economies of SADC members. With harsh economic conditions such as devaluation of currency, decontrol of price and reducing the number of workers, SADC members and other developing counties are negatively affected. The multinational companies know that investing in Africa enables easy repatriation of profit from Africa. This we gain less income but increased poverty rate.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank have emphasized on Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in which African countries borrow funds from these institutions. This crates debt crises among developing countries, SADC included. SAP badly affects Africans. For example, the devaluation of currency, tax increase and removal of government subsidies have hit both rural and urban populations because it is now very difficult to pay for the basic needs of life for the ordinary people.
Privatisation is one of the conditions form the IMF and World Bank. It leads to the domination by foreigners in the African economic sphere. The indigenous are unemployed, poorly accommodated because of difficultly in life and in a long run, the Africans don’t develop because of the fact that they don’t benefit form their natural resources.
Trade deficit, this is a situation whereby a country’s imports exceed the exports. Many developing countries including SADC members face this problem. Without domestic production, the country ends up poor because it has no basic foundation of home industries. Since almost all SADC members are in the third world, their level of development is low and poor hence poverty prevails among them due to this reason.
Settlers in the past colonial ear; the settlers for example in Zimbabwe, though they contribute much on the economy of the country, they have caused political unrest within Zimbabwe. This is because of land alienation. They own big plantations and forced cheap labour. These exploitative measures make it difficult for economic development to prevail hence poverty.
Nature of the economy left by colonialists; most of the Africa countries were left with the mono-economy method of production. For example, Ghana with cocoa and Zambia with copper. Dependence on one type of product is dangerous especially when the prices of those commodities fluctuate. This makes a country’s economy unstable. It becomes more detrimental when the prices of items produced fluctuate in the world market. So, poverty grows among African nations.
Alignment movements: Some SADC members like Angola established strong relationships with the socialist world like the U.S.S.R (United Soviet Socialist Republic). Through this, the government incurred hostility from some imperialist nations which hated all brands of socialism. Some local collaborators received assistance from the imperialists to destabilize the economy and political stability of the country. The government became alienated from the people it aimed to serve. The military took advantage of such discontent to grab power as was the case in Angola. This situation disables the development of SADC members and Africa at large.
Contest for power: Most African states have witnessed severe and massive competition for power among certain groups of people where by other ethnic groups clamour for autonomy in their zones. President Mugabe is one among the leaders who want to be in a past for life. Africa will never develop with such conditions because the young, skillful and energetic Africans are not allowed to exercise their skills as leaders of Africa. The more educated are left behind this a country adopts only the old techniques which are less productive in this fast changing world of globalization.
Corruption and diversion of public funds into private hands: Many leaders who laid foundation of post-colonial African development were corrupt and dishonest to public funds. A good example is the squandering of state treasury by ex-president Fredrick Chiluba of Zambia. With poor foundations like these, it becomes difficult to develop. Thus Africans are also a cause to the accelerated poverty due to our own dishonest manners.
Government expenditures: Many of the SADC member states involve themselves in spending highly the national income. For instance, Tanzania in the year 2001, bought radar that cost 4 million US dollars. Again in 2004, Tanzania bought a presidential jet of 4.2 million us dollars. We incur unnecessary costs which could have been used to develop other productive sectors. What is the meaning of having a radar? Who will attach us to protect ourselves in such a way? We are impoverishing our own continent by ourselves by not considering the most productive sectors.
Power crisis; This is the shortage of power among the member states. Example, Tanzania faced this problem in the year 2006. It becomes difficult to participate fully towards the development of the community. The government will be forced to import new generators whereby a lot of money is spent, as was the case in Tanzania. Thus, other economic sectors are neglected and only one sector is put into focus this the economic development becomes poor.
High population growth; The SADC Member states especially Tanzania experiences the problem of high population. This increases the so called dependence ratio, unemployment, lacking of settlement areas and the inadequate supply of amenities. With these problems, a country cannot participate fully in its own development. Population growth worsened the situation faced by developing countries this increased poverty and underdevelopment.
Political instabilities within the member states also is another cause for poverty to prevail as was the case in the DRC, Kinshasa, whereby frequent disturbances caused by the followers of Jean Pierre Bemba, caused a lot of instabilities in the country. This results into more money and time spent by the government to avoid these problems rather than concentrating on its development. With such conditions, poverty prevails.
Disease, This is the deviation of the body form normal condition. Diseases especially AIDS and malaria have been major problems in the third world countries. Many youths have lost their lives due to these diseases hence loss of energetic people in production. This also creates a large number of orphans and widows who mostly depend on the government for help. Thus the governments fail to fulfill the development projects with such conditions.
Developing countries especially SADC members and Africa at large have turned to be a market reservoir for poorly manufactured products and machines. For example, the exportation of out-dated computers to the peripheral countries as a technical aid for them. This reduces the inventive spirit among the indigenous hence poor development which leads to poverty.
Inflation; This is the persistent increase in the general price level, the tendency of rapid increase in price level and the consequently fall in the value of money. This is common among many African states especially Zimbabwe and Tanzania. Inflation makes the cost of living very high and makes high production costs. Thus it becomes difficult for the member states to contribute fully in the SADC affairs hence poverty prevails.
Poor technology on exploitation of natural resources: Most SADC member face the problem in exploitation of natural resources and this leads to under-utilization of resources this leaving way for the private sector which makes profit for foreigners. Hence it becomes difficult for SADC Members and other developing countries to develop because the upper profit goes to the hands of foreigners and we Africans benefit nothing form our resources. Therefore poverty is encouraged by this reason.
Debt crisis; Many SADC members and Africa in general face this great problem which accelerates the rate of rampant poverty. Tanzania for example, has a total national debt of about 9.180 billion us dollars. This burden continues t rise despite huge write offs by multilateral lenders and other international lending institutions. 86% of the total debt is external while the rest is domestic. How can we eliminate poverty with this worse condition?
Poor planning; Most SADC members are having poor plans for development. For instance, Tanzania with …………… reserves limited planned to construct a multi-million dollar modern airport in Serengeti District. Airports have been proved noisy and pollutant. What do we expect to happen to the natural phenomenon in Serengeti National Park once the airport construction is finished? This is a huge stab in the heart of Tanzanian’s most precious tourism asset. We shall get no income from the tourism sector thus left empty handed and poverty prevails.
Is there any alternative to the problems caused by poverty? Is there any solution to poverty? Yes! The SADC members and other developing countries should do the following in order to eliminate poverty.
Domestication: This involves making resources which are foreign, more relevant and appropriate to Africans. Also it involves emphasizing labour-intensive and not capital intensive technology. This means the involvement of more people in production.
Encouragement of Vocational Training centers example VETA in Tanzania. This will enable the youth to be more skillful and creative thus influencing a better community of tomorrow’s generation.
Investment in education is vital for survival in globalization; with people equipped with practical education, skills and competences to meet demands of new investment, poverty doesn’t stand a chance. Human capital can be developed by learning crucial skills on management; marketing and planning-improvements in educational level among the people will encourage poverty eradication.
SADC and other developing nations should learn from the experience of South Asia to harness globalization. The Asian tigers adopted the selective protectionism and also provided incentives for improved production. Industries were exposed to foreign competition but were not immediately exposed to full force. We should also copy what the Asian Tigers did.
The least developed countries should attract investment which is channeled to priority sectors such as Agriculture and light manufacturing industries. These are to be accompanied with joint ventures between local and foreign investors so as to facilitate the imparting of skills to local farmers so as to develop the agricultural sectors among the developing states.
A need to monitor the interests of the IMF and World Bank: The interests of these are not always aligned to those of the developing countries. Our governments have to build capacity to regulate the interests of multilateral institutions but not to over-regulate the market.
Yet, there must be a shift among the developing nations form promoting foreign investors so as to assist the local counterparts. This can be done through having regular regional investment forums. Starting zonal investment opportunities within Africa will be an eye opener for local investors to search for foreign joint partners to pull the resources in the region.
Promotion of pro-market mind set: The governments must make sure that every individual has the knowledge about international trade so as to eradicate the attitudes of many people that they are helpless victims of unfair global system and to being aggressive in using resources available within the region be it in Africa and in all other developing nations.
Diversification: Developing nations have to cultivate skills in order to have more than one foreign power competing for them. The developing nations have to diversify and sometimes multiply their trading partners. Diversification should also be on what is produced to avoid extensive dependency on one product. This will help to maximize profit this equitable economic development and poverty eradication.
Currency borrowing within Africa; Developing countries within Africa may receive technical and financial assistance form Africa. For example, recently, The African Development Bank gave US$4.5 million to the regional technical assistance centers programme. This initiative is part of poverty reductions strategy implementation policy.
Manpower mobilization; People should be encouraged to work whenever they are so as to develop a whole Africa. For example, the creation of useful jobs, establishment of plantations and training centers would encourage people to work hard and engage themselves in different economic activities thus self-employed personnel would increase national income that may lead us to genuine development.
Reduction of government expenditures: Our governments should decrease the rate of expenditures. It should make sure that it doesn’t incur unnecessary costs to avoid unnecessary expenditures. This will help because the income could be used on other development projects within the continent to achieve goals towards development. Furthermore, this may encourage the provision of adequate social services like education.
Construction of anti-corruption squads; Most African nations and the world at large have been very serious in terminating corruption deals and the embezzlement of public funds. For example, Tanzania with the formation of the PCB (Prevention of Corruption Bureau) has tried a lot in fighting corruption under Judge Joseph Warioba during Mkapa’s reign as president of Tanzania.
Checking privatization policies: The privatisation policies should be well checked and equally provided. The investors and privatisers should all benefit from the whole process of privatisation. Things like ‘Tax holidays’ should be discouraged to make sure that we see the fruits of privatising our own private sectors within Africa.
Environmental conservation; SADC and other developing states should enact effective policies to conserve our environment. Such measures may help members and non-state actors to develop sustainability form the natural resources and the environment. The measures may include eco-tourism, forestation and reforestation, protection of areas to avoid loss of bio-diversity and good agricultural activities like restocking so as to maintain the carrying capacity of an area.
Promotion of local market; The governments should promote internal market forces within developing countries so as to ensure that domestic products are sold. The notion that everything form Europe is best should be removed from the people’s minds. Also there should be high tariffs on the imported goods. An assurance in the local market will encourage industrialisaiton among the developing nations within Africa, SADC included.
Furthermore, African nations should discourage the philosophy of aid. This is simply because with foreign aids, we progressively become more reliant on external assistance. In one way or another, we must thank the Government of Denmark for reducing its financial assistance to Tanzania because it will make people work harder and become more creative thus initiatives will be employed to develop our own income sources so as to eradicate poverty.
Symbiotic relationship: The developing nations should establish some kind of relationships with the imperialistic world that will be beneficial to both. For example what America did with the European states through Marshal Aid Plan after the Second World War. The developing countries should make sure that the relationships are based on mutual understanding, respect and trust among the people of all countries.
Africa should take tentative steps towards power crises. This will encourage maximum utilisaiton of our resources for genuine development. For instance, the National power firms of the DRC, Angola and Namibia, South Africa and Botswana, hope to build a third power plant generating about 3500mw an supply new power highways stretching south through Angola and Namibia to link up with the South African grip. With these steps, Africa will develop as a whole and we’ll see a fully home-grown industrial and economic growth on the so called poorest continent.
Also the Chairperson of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) managing committee, Nathaniel Maphatehe disclosed that the SAPP was working towards a tariff review, power sector reforms, establishing secure and reliable network of telecommunications within the region as well as establishing guidelines on environmental impact assessment to ensure a supply of clean and environmental impact and friendly energy to the region as top priority areas in the next ten years. This will also solve power crises in the region thus ensuring equitable economic development.
Introduction of effective partnership involving private commercial companies that may stimulate competition within Africans to increase production: Reliable research and extension of infrastructures will help bring about equitable development among the third world countries. Also well coordinated systems of production will contribute to the increase in production.
Training cash crop growers in Africa is mentioned to be one of the effective ways of influencing farmers to adopt the appropriate agronomic practices. The application of combination of extension methods, training and farmers mobilization in collaboration with other stake holders in the governments and also with the timely and regular payment of smallholder farmers will encourage the farmers to develop agriculture which is the backbone of the economic development of mot of the African countries.
The governments should also stabilize the prices of goods in the country. Price control is the process of controlling economic activities in the country by fixing prices or manipulating the level of out-put to maintain a price profitable for producers and consumers. By doing so, the governments will enable all people to acquire basic needs, where price control involves the shortage of food, the stored commodity acts as a relief reserve during times of famine and hunger.
The contracts should be reviewed vitally. The governments make a review of all contracts related to the major economic issues in their countries. Tanzanian government is now reviewing her contracts to create conducive legal environment for oil exploiting companies. The reviewed contracts will also encourage commercialisaiton, reduce forest depletion and develop human resources. The measures will encourage poverty eradication among African countries, SADC states included.
The SADC Summit which was held in Dar-es-salaam on 28th March 2007 for an extra-ordinary summit debated on political and security situation in the region and came up with a joint communiqué on the way towards achieving political stability especially in Zimbabwe. Ensurance in political stability will provide sustainable environment for development and poverty elimination.
I believe that SADC is on the right tract and Africa as a whole would one day develop but its future must lie in a unitary and solidarity form of sustainable development covering the whole continent. No part of the continent is to dominate the other but all working together for the progress of Africa. We must confront the imperialistic world with a demand of equal access in the world economic issues so as to develop our beloved continent Africa. “The difference between the possible and impossible lies within a person’s thinking, beliefs, expectations, determinations and performance”. Let us make our continent a poverty free continent. Let us make the eradication of poverty a possible aspect which can be accomplished by our determination and performance.