Strategic SADC Alignment

Pursuing regional strategies with the long-term vision of driving industrialisation in Southern Africa

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About the SADC

With its 16 member states, and approximately 390 million people, the SADC is a region of vast potential, but also significant challenges. As a 2022 Oxfam study shows, high poverty rates have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to significant job losses. Unemployment levels are unacceptably high. According to a 2023 World Bank report, inequality within the region is also staggering, with a mix of high-income and low-income countries and reports ranking many SADC nations among the most unequal in the world.

Limited access to health services and widespread food and nutrition insecurity pose severe risks. A 2022 SADC report estimated that around 55.7 million people in the SADC region are food-insecure, and that in countries such as Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique up to half of their populations are chronically undernourished.

Educational challenges further complicate the picture. A predominantly young population grapples with high unemployment rates, partially due to poor participation in vocational training and a misalignment between educational programmes and skills needs. Low gross enrolment ratios (GER) in tertiary and vocational education undermine the production of highly qualified graduates essential for economic competitiveness.

Resilience and Responsiveness for Regional Development

We at SARUA are deeply committed to combating the multi-faceted challenges that our region faces. Aligned with the SADC Vision 2050, our work aims to foster regional integration, socio-economic betterment, and human capital development.

During the SADC Ministers’ meeting in June 2017, a resolution was passed recognizing SARUA’s critical role in driving skills development, thereby creating modern, knowledge-based economies in alignment with regional policies and plans such as the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030, and the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015=2063.

  • The SADC Protocol on Education and Training defines a regional framework for maximising the effective utilisation of educational resources in the region, to promote equivalence, harmonisation and standardisation through collaboration.
  • The Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030 prioritises inter alia the implementation of a Regional Qualifications Framework, human resources skills development, the development of reliable data to support decision-making, matching of education with labour market demands and accelerating the development of priority sectors for industrial and infrastructure development.
  • The SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015 – 2063 provides a blueprint for inclusive, long-term modernisation and economic transformation in the SADC region and is based on three interdependent and mutually supportive strategic pillars: Industrialisation, Competitiveness and Regional Integration.

Our six strategic goals articulate our response to the imperatives of regional development.

Our Approach:
  • Skills Development: We are pioneering initiatives that align educational programmes with the skills needed in our modernizing economies. Examples include our programmes on Climate Change and Industrial Pharmacy.
  • Quality Education: As a subscriber to the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and a supporter of Global Goal 4 for Sustainable Development, we advocate for high-quality, accessible education for all.
  • Data-Driven Policy: We prioritize the development of reliable data to inform decision-making, especially in matching education with labour market demands.