/ 19 August 2006

Zim, Angola fail to sign SADC protocol

Zimbabwe and Angola have failed to sign a Southern African Development Community (SADC) protocol aligning its finance and investment policies with its objectives.

”Some countries first need the approval of their Parliament … they will be signing because there is no doubt they are in agreement,” SADC chairperson and Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili said on Friday.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe only attended a part of the summit sessions on Friday.

However, Mosisili said nothing should be read into his absence. ”President Mugabe is not a young man,” he said.

He also pointed out that progress has been made addressing Zimbabwe’s political and economic challenges.

At the summit, SADC appointed a task team of finance, economic and trade ministers to look into the need among member countries to scale up the implementation of its integration agenda.

”They directed the task force to report back to an extraordinary session to be held not later than October 2006,” said SADC council of ministers chairperson Timothy Thahane, who is Lesotho’s Finance Minister.

Another issue raised was multi-membership in other regional groupings.

”It is in this light that the summit appealed to all member states to decide which regional grouping each member state wants to belong to.

”However, member states should be cautious when taking this decision to avoid splitting SADC into two,” Mosisili said.

The summit also deliberated on the Seychelles rejoining SADC and decided that members would deliberate the matter further. Mosisili said ongoing discussions were being about the Seychelles’ financial contribution to SADC.

SADC has already written off the island country’s debt of R2,6-million. — Sapa