Sunday, September 20, 2020

U.S pours scorn on SADC’s efficacy

The United States of America (U.S) has thrown its weight behind critics who have accused the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as a toothless dog with no legal backing to enforce its decisions.

The U.S, which did not hide its disdain for the regional bloc, described SADC as a “notoriously bureaucratic and weak institution with few incentives to perform.”

This emerged in a document that articulates the U.S. priorities in a given country referred to as the Integrated Country Strategy (ICS) for Botswana.  

“Despite the challenges that SADC presents (a notoriously bureaucratic and weak institution with few incentives to perform), regional programming has proven effective and sustainable as it fosters holistic development approaches,” the document states.

Stating that SADC contributes to economic growth in Southern Africa, the United States explained that it will partner with Botswana and SADC to advance regional security capacity and regional integration to protect the American homeland from potential security, health, and environmental threats.

“SADC is the region’s only intergovernmental organization focused on furthering socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among its 16 member states. Unfortunately, SADC is a weak institution with few incentives to perform. It is important SADC achieve its mandate of regional integration for Botswana to build on its past successes and achieve true broad-based economic diversification,” the document reads further.

According to the United States, its Integrated Country Strategy goals are clear and achievable.

“They build on Botswana’s notable achievements and success from being one of the world’s least developed nations at independence in 1966 to upper middle income status. They also look beyond Botswana’s borders at the positive role the country can play both internationally and regionally – a crucial element in the southern African context given SADC’s role in political and economic integration,” the document states.

These goals require, the document says, a coordinated U.S. government effort across agencies and between the field and headquarters, as well as sustained and robust diplomatic, commercial, development, and defense engagement with Botswana and SADC.

The united States also states that one of its objectives is to ensure that Botswana and SADC’s security institutions prevent, mitigate, and enable resolution of regional conflicts; conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster response; and counter transnational threats through regional security cooperation.

Another part of its objective is to ensure that SADC contributes to economic growth in Southern Africa, which will promote new markets for U.S. trade and investment.

“The Government of Botswana and SADC’s security institutions prevent, mitigate, and enable resolution of regional conflicts; conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster response; counter transnational threats through regional security cooperation; strengthen protection of U.S. citizens in Botswana and the American homeland,” the document stated,

Justifying why this of paramount important the United States says that “By achieving this objective, we will have built strong partners, capable and willing to lead the region in responding to threats, conflicts, and disasters. We will have positioned strong institutions and leaders who respect democratic values and have the knowledge to work with the United States and its partners to promote and maintain peace in the region.”

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.