Late September, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Embassies accredited to the Russian Federation celebrated the 37th Anniversary of SADC at the Korston hotel in southern Moscow.

SADC is an inter-governmental organisation of the Southern African region comprising the following sixteen countries: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

During the 37th Ordinary Summit of the SADC Heads of State and Government held on 19 – 20th August 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa, the Republic of South Africa was elected Chair of the SADC for the year 2017/2018.

The Organisation’s primary goal is “to promote sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development through efficient productive systems, deeper cooperation and integration, good governance and durable peace and security.”

High on the priority list of SADC is the implementation of the SADC Industrial Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063, which recognises the necessity for the structural transformation of the SADC region through industrialisation, modernisation, upgrading, skills development, science and technology, financial strengthening and deeper regional integration.

During the 37th Summit held in Pretoria in August 2017, the SADC Heads of State and Government also noted progress in the implementation of the Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap in specifically profiling of value chains in the three priority sectors of agro-processing, mining and pharmaceuticals and further urged member states to keep the momentum in developing and actualising the identified value chains.

In the Russian Federation, ten SADC member countries are prominently represented, namely: Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The primary goal of the SADC Embassies in the Russian Fedration is to strengthen the historical relations between the Russian Federation and the SADC member countries, bilaterally and as a collective. To this end, the SADC member countries in the Russian Federation have structured bilateral mechanisms designed to depeen bilateral relations with Russia.

SADC member countries are also engaged in efforts to forge bilateral relations between the 85 regions of the Russian Federation and their country’s regions. This is because of the recognition that linkages at the regional levels play a pivotal role in the strengthening of bilateral relations, particularly in the trade and people-to-people spheres.

There are other equally significant aspects of cooperation with the Russian Federation. These include: military cooperation, with several SADC Embassies having Military Attaches; education cooperation, as many students receive tertiary training in the institutions of higher learning of the Russian Federation; people-to-people relations, which involve promotion of different cultures in the Russian Federation, tourism promotion – encouraging Russians to go on holiday to SADC countries and enjoy the variety offered by these countries.

Strengthening trade, investment and economic relations to the mutual benefit of both SADC countries and the Russian Federation remains high on the agenda of all SADC Embassies in the Russian Federation. To this end, on various occasions, Trade and Economic Ministers, and high-powered delegations have visited the Russian Federation; SADC Embassies participate regularly in Russian international investment forums and exhibitions such as SPIEF in St. Petersburg, Forum in Sochi, Far East Economic Forum in Vladivostok, INNOPROM Industrial Exhibition in Ekaterinburg, Moscow World Food Exhibition, Russia Agriculture Golden Autumn Exhibition, to cite here but a few.

In this context, SADC wishes to inform that the region hosts a variety of international exhibitions. SADC, thus, invites Russian business people to explore vast opportunities available in the member countries.

The SADC countries enjoy a strong convergence of principles and positions on multilateral issues with the Russian Federation, especially in championing peaceful resolution of conflicts and the primary role of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in the maintenance of global peace and security, human rights, multilateralism, the rule of law in international relations, the respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, the democratisation of the global governance system through the United Nations (UN), G20 and the BRICS Forum.

SADC, is one of the five Regional Economic Communities of the African continent, and its member countries in the Russian Federation participate in the activities of the African Group of Ambassadors in the Russian Federation. SADC Embassies are proud that the Dean of the African Group of Ambassadors in the Russian Federation is H.E. Ambassador Eloi Maxime Dovo from the Republic of Madagascar – a member country of SADC.

The SADC Embassies, bilaterally and collectively look forward to further strengthening bilateral relations in all spheres to the optimal level with the Russian Federation. 

Kester Kenn Klomegah

Kester Kenn Klomegah is an independent researcher and writer on African affairs in the EurAsian region and former Soviet republics. He wrote previously for African Press Agency, African Executive and Inter Press Service. Earlier, he had worked for The Moscow Times, a reputable English newspaper. Klomegah taught part-time at the Moscow Institute of Modern Journalism. He studied international journalism and mass communication, and later spent a year at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. He co-authored a book “AIDS/HIV and Men: Taking Risk or Taking Responsibility” published by the London-based Panos Institute. In 2004 and again in 2009, he won the Golden Word Prize for a series of analytical articles on Russia's economic cooperation with African countries.

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