Realising a common future in Southern Africa

Project description

Title: Strengthening the National-Regional Linkages in SADC (SNRL)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Southern African Development Community (SADC): Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Lead executing agency: SADC Secretariat
Overall term: 2016 to 2018


The 16 Member States of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have developed a regional Common Agenda to promote economic development and eradicate poverty in Southern Africa. The Member States have committed themselves to achieving these objectives in the SADC Treaty and in joint protocols and strategies.

However, the regional agenda frequently plays a subordinate role in the individual countries. National development plans do not always reflect the objectives of the SADC protocols and strategies, and commitments to other regional organisations take precedence over obligations towards SADC. Important stakeholders in state structures and civil society are often unaware of their roles. The SADC Secretariat coordinates Member States’ efforts but has no mandate to enforce regional commitments.

Against this background, the regional agenda is not moving forward. The implementation gap that exists between the regional objectives and national efforts is preventing the successes achieved in regional integration from generating impact and visibility.

In 2015, SADC revised its Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) to focus on implementation in four areas: industrial development and market integration, infrastructure, peace and security, and regional programmes. The Member States also agreed to strengthen the processes and institutions that play a role in implementing the Common Agenda.


The Secretariat and Member States of SADC increasingly integrate the regional agenda into national policy-making processes. The programme is working to improve the integration of regional protocols and strategies into national plans and priorities[BCG1] . It is also optimising service management at the SADC Secretariat and in the individual Member States. This is helping to improve the coordination, planning and implementation of SADC guidelines, protocols and instruments. A further aim is to raise key stakeholders’ awareness of the advantages and potentials offered by regional integration.


The Strengthening the National-Regional Linkages in SADC (SNRL) programme promotes the integration of the regional agenda into national policy-making processes. Based on the revised RISDP, the programme supports the alignment of national planning with regional protocols and strategies. Together with partners from government and civil society, it is also working to increase the visibility of the successes achieved to date in regional integration, as well as its potential.

The programme’s activities currently focus on Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia. It provides support in these pilot countries for their national structures, particularly in coordinating implementation of the regional agenda at national level.

It also assists the SADC Secretariat in dealing more effectively with requests for support from Member States. The focus is on strategic planning, coordination and monitoring of the regional agenda. At the same time, the programme is building the capacity of the key stakeholders that are crucial to the successful implementation of the SADC Common Agenda.


With support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the SADC Secretariat has been able to fulfil its mandate to the satisfaction of the Member States. It played a significant role in revising the RISDP, which now defines improved national and regional linkages as a prerequisite for more effective implementation of the regional agenda. Two SADC Member States have prioritised important regional programmes in their national development plans. Zambia has ratified the SADC Protocol on Gender and is aligning its national equality strategy with this, while Malawi is designing national measures on the basis of the SADC Strategic Framework for HIV and AIDS. The programme has helped to strengthen national coordination structures in Mozambique and Zambia, enabling them to grow into well equipped lead institutions for promoting SADC programmes and policies.

With support from the programme, the SADC Secretariat is developing a web-based monitoring and evaluation tool for tracking implementation of the revised RISDP. The system has been launched successfully at the SADC Secretariat and is now being rolled out in the Member States.

The programme’s cooperation with SADC has led to the development of new approaches for demonstrating the advantages of regional integration in the Member States. A Success Stories brochure was published in English, French and Portuguese and disseminated via social media, reaching more than one million people in the SADC region. The second volume of SADC Success Stories has been seen online by some 4.2 million citizens. Almost 1.1 million people have viewed the short films showing individual success stories.