Adolescents and young people, aged between 10 and 24 years, make up about a third of the total population in eastern and southern Africa. The growing proportion of youths has great potential to positively impact countries in the region. Yet, youths are often economically and socially excluded, and their voices are seldom heard on policy matters.
Malter Vilakati knows the challenges of undertaking trade as an economic activity across borders in the SADC region. And she knows how much progress has been made to ensure that these economic opportunities are available to women.
Vilakati is a 63-year-old cross border trader from Manzini in Swaziland. In July 2013, she was part of the women traders group that formed the Women Cross Border Traders Forum with the support of the Southern Africa Trust. This forum ensures women are participating in economic empowerment initiatives in the SADC region.
Southern Africa Trust partnered with key stakeholders to foster new opportunities for intra-regional trade and investments during the SADC Industrialisation Week held in South Africa.
The second SADC Industrialisation Week took place from 31 July – 04 August 2017 in Sunninghill, Johannesburg, under the theme Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains.
Representatives from civil society, government and the private sector met in Mbabane, Swaziland, in August to discuss migration issues in the SADC region.
The meeting, at the Turns George Hotel in Swaziland from 3-4 August 2017, was attended by more than 30 representatives from various Swazi sectors. Speakers included Mr. Douglas Dlamini from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security; Ms. Mpilo Shange-Buthane from Consortium For Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA); Mr. Ncedi Magagula from Swaziland Inter-State Organisation; Mr. Vulindele Msibi from CCM Global Fund; Ms. Tholakile Ntuli from Apex Cross Border Traders; Mr. Sipho Jeli from Turn Wheel Association; Mr. Vama Jele from Swaziland Migrant Mineworkers Association (SWAMMIWA); Mr. Gideon Lukhuleni an Ex-miner; and Mr. Emmanuel Ndlangamandla of Coordinating Assembly of NGOs (CANGO).
High volumes of movement in the Southern African Development Community is attributed to historical precedents, socio-economic challenges as well as people fleeing conflict, crisis or persecution. In addition, industrialisation in countries such as South Africa and Botswana has also attracted migrant labour seeking better lives. The Regional Platform on migration in the SADC region was formed in August 2016 following a partnership between the Southern Africa Trust and CoRMSA in order to coordinate migration dialogues between government and civil society organisations at national and regional levels and work towards a formalized mechanism. The platform will focus on creating opportunities and dialogue for the voices of migrant workers to be heard, to address their issues and promote their rights both at regional and national level.