Malawi Shows Commitment to SADC RISDP; Seeks Enhanced Collaboration
Government officials discussed progress, challenges, and opportunities in regional integration during the Third Regional Dialogue for Non-State Actors on the SADC RISDP 2020–2030.
Lilongwe, Malawi-Malawi is said to be continuing to make strides in implementing the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), aligning it with its own long-term development agenda, Malawi 2063, and the First Ten Year Implementation Plan (MIP1), writes Winston Mwale.
In an update presented on Wednesday during the Third Regional Dialogue for Non-State Actors on the SADC RISDP 2020–2030, government officials shared insights into the progress, challenges, and opportunities in their journey towards regional integration.
Richard Kachere, an economist from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, emphasized the significance of domesticating the SADC RISDP into Malawi's development plans, stating, "This has ensured that SADC programs are part and parcel of the Malawi development agenda."
The integration of these plans into the national budget demonstrates Malawi's commitment to supporting the implementation of the RISDP.
Paul Ndau Lupiya and Evelyn Nyerere, SADC Desk Officers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, emphasized the importance of coordination among member states, highlighting that "Member states show commitment to implementing SADC programs at the national level."
The cost of national coordination expenses, which member states are expected to bear, was facilitated by the SADC Secretariat, further underscoring the collective effort in advancing regional integration.
In terms of implementation progress, Malawi is currently in its third year of implementing MIP1, which is fully aligned with the SADC RISDP.
Malawi has been diligently reporting its progress through the Ministerial Committee on Regional Integration, which convenes annually.
While opportunities abound for Malawi in the civil society space to enhance SADC RISDP implementation, challenges also persist.
The government officials pointed out, "It seems we always come together when there are meetings. After meetings, we are back to business as usual. We can do better."
This underscores the need for continuous engagement and information sharing among stakeholders.
One crucial step in enhancing regional integration efforts is the establishment of SADC National Committees (SNCs) at the member-state level, as stipulated by the SADC Treaty.
These committees aim to provide support and coordination for the effective implementation of regional programs.
The guidelines for SNC membership include representation by the Minister of the designated ministry, inclusion of National Planning Commissions where applicable, and participation of non-state actors.
In line with SADC Treaty provisions, Malawi revitalised its SADC National Committee (SNC) on April 1, 2021, and has been actively engaged in its activities.
This committee played a key role in shaping the theme for the 41st SADC Summit, "Bolstering Productive Capacities in the Face of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Inclusive, Sustainable, Economic, and Industrial Transformation."
Key achievements of the Malawi SNC, according to the government officials, include its relaunch, orientation of members, a costing exercise, and the development of change projects.
Upcoming activities involve further orientation, training on monitoring and evaluation, and regular quarterly meetings.
However, challenges such as limited resources and capacity constraints at the SNC Secretariat remain, underscoring the need for increased support and collaboration among government ministries, departments, and non-state actors to advance Malawi's regional integration goals.
The progress update was delivered during the Third Regional Dialogue for Non-State Actors on the SADC RISDP 2020–2030, held on September 13–14, 2023, through both virtual and in-person platforms in Johannesburg, Lilongwe, Lusaka, Dodoma, Harare, and Maputo.