Presentation of the SADC, the Southern African Development Coordination Conference

Since the SADC headquarters is based in Gaborone, the Embassy of France to Botswana fosters the dialogue between France and the regional organization, and monitors its decisions and activities.

The Southern African Development Community brings together sixteen countries from Southern Africa and Indian Ocean: South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Maurice, Mozambique, Namibia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Republic of Seychelles, and The Comoros.

Since August 2017, the regional institution is chaired by South Africa that has identified industrialization and regional integration as the main priorities for its mandate. Simultaneously, the organ on Politics, Defence and Security is chaired by Angola.

SADC Historical background

  • 1980 : creation of the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) by nine countries of the front-line (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe).
  • 1992 : following the independence of Namibia, signature of the founding treaty of SADC in Windhoek by the nine members of the SADCC and Namibia.
  • 1994 : end of the Apartheid regime. South Africa joins the SADC.
  • 1995 - 2005 : Mauritius (1995), the Democratic Republic of Congo (1998), the Seychelles Islands (1998) and Madagascar (2005) join the organisation, which is by this time made up of 14 members.
  • March 2001 : initiation of an institutional reform, aiming at reinforcing the SADC cohesion: dissolution of the coordinating sectors units. Their activities come under the authority of a reinforced Secretariat. Setting up of coordinating tools (post of a Chief Director within the Secretariat, Integrated Committee of Ministers, National Committee of the SADC in the Member States), setting up of a regional development plan for 15 years to provide guidelines for the development policies of the region.
  • 2003 : adoption of two long term (15 years) indicative strategic plans, one concerning the development of the region (RISDP, Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan), the other about political, defence and security issues (SIPO, Strategic Indicative Plan of the Organ). The implementation of these orientations is planned up to now within 24 protocols (especially concerning Trade, Finance and Investment, Cross-border and National rivers Management, etc.).
  • April 2006 : SADC Consultative Conference / cooperation partners (Windhoek) : Adoption of a Declaration on the principles for aid between SADC and its partners, definition of five priority fields and setting up of thematic groups for cooperation with donors.
  • April 2015 : adoption of the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063, in Harare, aiming at transforming the structure of regional economies, boosting the economic growth and developing the trade between SADC countries.
  • 19-20 August 2017 : Adhesion of Comoros (16th State member) at the 37th SADC Summit in Pretoria.

Functioning of the SADC

The SADC set up institutions mainly modelled on the EU structures.

Summit (Head of State level)

Superior institution of the SADC, the Summit meets once a year in August to define the policy of the organisation. There is a troika made up of its former presidency, the current one and the next one.

Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation

It is under the authority of a rotating Troika of Heads of State (different from the previous one)

Council of Ministers

Made up of Minister of each Member State in charge of the follow-up of the SADC (usually, the Finance Ministers or Foreign Affaires Ministers), the Council aims at overseeing the process and the functioning of the SADC, at monitoring the effective setting up of the organisation policies and at preparing the Summit meeting. Generally speaking, the Council meets twice a year, at the beginning of the year to discuss the budget of the organisation, and in August just before the annual SADC Summit.

Integrated Committee of Ministers

Founded in order to break with the sectors ruling logic until the 2001 changes (specialised councils), is under the authority of the Council of Ministers (ICM) – made up of 2 to 4 Ministers of each Member State in accordance with the adopted agenda- meets once a year to provide orientation, to oversee and to coordinate the political level of the different sectors activities. Furthermore, sectors sub-committees meet on an ad hoc basis to deepen some issues.


The SADC Secretariat is the harmonising organ and the strategic leader for the SADC process (coordinating the implementation of the two strategic indicative regional plan).

SADC National Committees

Founded after 2001, the National Committees (SNCs) are accountable for making each Member State contributing to the implementation of regional policies and for coordinating and overseeing their transposition at the national level.

Last updated on: 29 May 2018