oa Africa Insight - Southern African interdependence

Volume 16, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-2804



Although the approximately 500 delegates - including cabinet ministers from Western donor countries and officials of international organizations - were encouraged by the fact that 1,000 million dollars (some 20 percent of the total cost) had been raised for almost 400 development schemes, the talks were overshadowed by the same issue that had brought the regional development organization into being in the first place - the question of how and to what extent the black-ruled countries of southern Africa can move toward economic independence from South Africa. Indeed, even if South Africa were majority-ruled, as SADCC members have stated at various times, there would still be a need for them to diversify their trading and transport links to gain greater independence from the region's economic giant. The formation of SADCC became possible only after the independence of Zimbabwe, a country whose economic potential makes it a key asset to any economic coalition of southern African states. Following a number of preliminary meetings in 1979 and 1980 held at the personal initiative of Botswana's late president, Sir Seretse Khama, SADCC was formally constituted in Lusaka, Zambia, at an April 1980 summit of its nine members: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

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