This year’s VIRTUAL SADC PEOPLE’S SUMMIT was held on 18 – 20 AUGUST 2020 under the theme "SADC @40: Towards a people centered post-COVID recovery plan for Southern Africa".
The summit took place right after the ordinary summit of SADC Head of States, 10-17 August 2020 which was themed “SADC: 40 years building peace and security, and promoting development and resilience in the face of global challenges”. Looking at the latter theme, it is important for the citizens to confirm if whatever milestones reached in the last 40 years have actually improved lives of ordinary SADC citizens. Are plans for the future including post-Covid recovery plans truly people-centered?
AFRODAD is particularly scrutinizing how privatisation of health and education has not been particularly beneficial to the majority of SADC people, majority of them being poor. We are also raising the voice against irresponsible borrowing and lending which has been going on for years and is still increasing as Covid-19 hits unprepared nations of the South. Issues around tax inequalities were also laid on the table during the summit.
On the 19th August 2020, AFRODAD hosted 3 webinars co-sponsored by AFRODAD itself and Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN):
Privatisation of Health Services in Zimbabwe at 10am-11am SAT
Covid-19: Public Debt and Economic Rescue Packages: Implications and Responses for SADC at 11:00 am - 13:00 pm SAT
Domestic resources mobilisation in the Covid-19 era: Tax challenges, implications and reform in SADC at 14 pm- 15:30 pm.
The summit served as a reminder and wake up call to citizens of the SADC region to play their citizenship role of contributing to the development of the region by ensuring that governments are making people centered and pro-poor policies. Without some reminders, many decisions and policies would only favor a few while plunging the majority in deeper distress caused by poverty and other forms of inequality. It is critical for the people of Southern Africa to raise their voice and stand against issues that oppress them or put them at a disadvantaged play ground.
AFRODAD’s recommendations are part of the SADC Peoples Summit Communiqué to be submitted to the Heads of State and SADC GovernmentS. The SADC Summit is responsible for the overall policy direction and control of functions of the community, ultimately making it the policy-making institution of SADC. That’s why it is very important for the people of SADC to release a message centered on what Heads of State should act on if they are genuinely concerned with the well-being of the people they lead.