By the time Wednesday comes and the third extraordinary SADC (Southern African Development Community) heads of state and government summit starts in Maputo the regional bloc will have held two preliminary preparatory meetings.
A SADC statement has it this week’s discussions include regional integration, co-operation and development.
No specific mention is made of any possible SADC intervention in the east African country, battling an Islamist insurrection in northern areas since 2019, apart from “a regional response and support to address terrorism” in Mozambique. This is further qualified by the addition of regional food and nutrition security, gender and development as well as the regional response to HIV/Aids and COVID-19.
There is no agenda for any of the three regional bloc meetings in the SADC statement. It mentions “the regional commemoration” of the block’s 40th anniversary. This will reportedly be marked by the release of three publications including one penned by Mozambique President Felipe Nyusi titled “40 Years of SADC: enhancing regional co-operation and integration”.
Another item highlighted in the statement is progress with implementation of the 40th SADC summit theme “building peace and security and promoting development and resilience in the face of global challenges”.
Making public the SADC summit date in South Africa’s National Council of Provinces (NCOP) during question time earlier this month, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the regional bloc sought “a lasting solution to the conflict to ensure Mozambique is stable, peaceful and able to develop its economy”.
There has, to date, been no further word on a regional standby force for Mozambique. The still-to-be assembled force will reportedly have as its major component three light infantry battalions supported by a pair of Special Forces squadrons. Attack and other helicopters, maritime patrol aircraft, a submarine and maritime patrol vessels are mooted for the SADC force.