SADC Ministers of Transport, ICT, and Meteorology Meet to Discuss Sectoral Issues

SADC Executive Secretary Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax giving her speech at the event.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministers responsible for
Transport, Information Communication Technologies (ICT), and Meteorology
met on 9th July 2021 to discuss various sectoral issues around infrastructure and development in support of SADC regional integration and development. The meeting was officially opened by Honourable Janfar Abdulai, the Minister of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Mozambique, and Chairperson of the SADC Committee of Ministers Responsible for Transport, ICT, Information, and Meteorology.

Hon. Abdulai said, as one of the founding members of SADC, Mozambique was
committed to the implementation of SADC decisions as well as other initiatives aimed at
capitalising on its potential in the transport and communications sector. He noted that this
the year 2021 has witnessed the completion of regional projects such as the construction of the Kazungula Bridge linking Botswana and Zambia; the launch, by His Excellency Filipe
Jacinto Nyusi, President of Mozambique and Chairperson of SADC, of the SADC Centre
for Humanitarian and Emergency Operations, in the Nacala Province; and the installation
of meteorological equipment in the SADC Member States to improve the early warning
system and the field of information and communication technologies in meteorology.

He said Mozambique’s geostrategic location and the existence of a complex of road, rail
and port infrastructure gave the country enhanced accountability in the Region, especially
in logistics for imports and exports from the hinterland Member States.

In the communications field, he said, the Region faces challenges to meet the goals of
promoting access to broadband to reduce the digital divide and accelerate the development of SADC countries. The COVID-19 pandemic demanded quality in telecommunications to enable telework, therefore there was a need for these goals to be achieved immediately and not in 2025 as planned. Hon. Abdulai said at a time the effects of climate change were already being felt in the world and in the Region, SADC was challenged to harmonise and complement the different strategies and actions for greater efficiency and effectiveness in the provision of Meteorological and Hydrological Services.

In her remarks, SADC Executive Secretary Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax highlighted notable achievements recorded in the transport, ICT, information, and meteorology sectors. These include effective implementation of the Protocol on Transport, Communications and Meteorology where a number of programmes and projects have been implemented, including the development of Model Legislative Provisions (MLPs) that have served as guidelines for the implementation of agreed policies. The SADC Corridor Management Strategy was approved in 2008 and has served as the basic framework for cooperation and coordination in transport integration. The corridors strategy focuses on developing legal instruments for joint governance of corridors; institutional frameworks for joint and coordinated management of transport corridors; and prioritisation and implementation of critical corridor transport and logistics infrastructure. In the ICT sector, the Region saw the establishment of two cross-border terrestrial optical fibre links for regional and international transit traffic, and 26 SADC Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), a vital component of the Internet eco-system, accounting for 57% share of the IXPs in Africa.

The establishment of the SADC Climate Services Centre has contributed to the enhancement of the capacity of the Region in the production and dissemination of timely and credible meteorological and climate information that is used for socio-economic planning, and disaster risk management.

As the SADC region prepares for the post-pandemic era and set to implement the SADC
Vision 2050 and the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP)
2020-30, Dr Tax urged the Member States to redouble their efforts to harness the potential
of digital technologies for socio-economic growth and development. On this note, Dr Tax
noted that as the Region makes advances in ICT, it was also exposed to potential cyber
threats and risks, and therefore urged the Member States to expedite the review and
modernisation of the SADC cyber-security model laws, and to put in place National Cyber
Security Strategy so as to secure the cyberspace and unlock the full potential of the digital
transformation.

In the postal sector, the Executive Secretary commended the Member States for the ongoing postal digital transformation efforts which are aimed at ensuring long-term relevancy and diversity of the sector.

  • Key outcomes of the Ministers’ meeting
    The Ministers approved the following ICT related instruments:

    • Revised SADC Roaming Regulations Revised SADC Radio Frequency
      Spectrum Allocation Plan (RFSAP)
    • SADC Radio Frequency Spectrum Model Policy;
    • SADC Framework for Harmonisation of Radio Frequencies for the Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR);
    • Position Paper – SADC Member States Acceding to the Tampere
      Convention;
    • Universal Access and Service Guidelines for the Electronic
      Communications Sector in SADC;
    • SADC ICT Quality of Service (QoS)/ Quality of Experience (QoE)
      Guidelines.
    • SADC Interconnection and Postal Network Access Guidelines;
    • SADC Postal Market Definition and Licensing Guidelines;
    • Roadmap and Guidelines for Transformation to Advanced Internet
      Exchange Points (IXPs);
    • SADC Model Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between National
      Statistics Office (NSO), National Regulatory Authority (NRA) and/or
      Ministry of ICT (MICT) for data collection for the SADC ICT Observatory
      and for Member States to put the MOU into place by December 2021.
  • The Ministers urged the Member States to establish their National Computer Incident Response Teams (CIRTs) by December 2021. CIRTs serve as the national focal point for coordinating cybersecurity incident response to cyberattacks in the country.
  • In the Transport Sector, the Ministers accepted the SADC Alliance of NGO’s for Road Safety (SANRS) as a consultative member of the Roads, Road Transport and Road Traffic Committee. Ministers urged the remaining Member States to consider signing the SADC Aviation Safety Organisation (SASO) Charter to enable full its operationalisation and urged the Member States who are not yet members of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) SAATM to expedite actions for the signature of the Solemn Commitment to join SAATM for optimisation of benefits from Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA); and to effectively participate in the African Union programmes and projects on
    aviation-related matters
  • As part of the implementation of the SADC Corridors Development Strategy, the Ministers noted construction of priority infrastructure projects in the transport corridors and One-Stop Border Posts (OSBPs) between SADC Member States which include Mwami/Mchinji OSBP between Zambia and Malawi, Tunduma OSBP between United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia, and Beitbridge OSBP between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
  • On meteorology, Ministers called for the strengthening of the cooperation between SADC and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and encouraging Member States to collaborate with WMO to enhance the delivery of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) to better serve society and socio-economic needs.
  • Regarding the Meteorological Association of Southern Africa (MASA) which was established to, among others, promote the development, establishment and operation of efficient, affordable and accessible meteorological services within the SADC region, the Ministers noted the offer by the United Republic of Tanzania to host the MASA Secretariat.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.