Mandate of the Regional Integration Division
Mauritius views Regional Integration as part of its overall development strategy to enhance economic growth and achieve sustainable development. The Regional Integration Division (RID) prepares for meetings and monitors activities relating to the regional organisations to which Mauritius belongs, namely
· Southern African Development Community (SADC),
· Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA),
· Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), and
· Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)
It also takes on board decisions of the Tripartite SADC-COMESA-EAC Summit.
Main areas of co-operation
The Regional Integration Division coordinates activities in the following main clusters:
· Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment;
· Infrastructure and Services Support for Regional Integration dealing with issues such as Energy, Water, Transport and Meteorology, Postal, Communications and ICT and Tourism;
· Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment;
· Social, Human Development and Special Programmes dealing with issues such as Health and HIV and AIDS, and Education, Labour and Employment;
· Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation;
· Cross-Cutting Issues such as Science and Technology and Gender
Southern African Development Community (SADC)
SADC was established as a Development Coordinating Conference in 1980 and was later transformed into a Development Community in 1992. Established primarily with economic aims, the SADC now oversees a large range of sectors including agriculture, peace and security, climate change, infrastructure, industrialisation and health.
As per Article 5 of its Treaty, SADC aims at achieving economic growth and development, alleviate poverty, enhance the standard and quality of life of the people of Southern Africa and support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration. It also aims at evolving common political values, systems and institutions as well as the promotion of peace and security
The fifteen Member States of SADC are Angola, Botswana, DR Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Institutional Structure of SADC
The following organs of SADC have the power to take decisions on behalf of SADC Member States:
· The Summit of Heads of State and Government;
· The Council of Ministers; and
· The organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation
The Summit is responsible for the overall policy direction and control of the functions of SADC and for the adoption of legal instruments for the implementation of the provisions of the SADC Treaty. However, Summit may delegate this authority to the Council or any other institutions of SADC as it may deem appropriate.
The Secretariat is based in Gaborone, Botswana. It is headed by an Executive Secretary who is appointed by the Summit for a term of four years and is eligible for renewal for a further term of four years. The basic function of the Secretariat is to provide technical support and advisory services to the Member States in the implementation of the Treaty. It mainly implements sectoral projects and programmes in line with decisions adopted by the Summit of Heads of State and Government and Council of Ministers. The Executive Secretary of the Secretariat is Dr Stergomena L. Tax from Tanzania.
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)
COMESA was established in 1994 and launched a Free Trade Area (FTA) in October 2000. It has 19 Member States, 14 of whom are part of the FTA while the remaining 5 are working towards joining the FTA.
The aims and objectives of the COMESA are to become a fully integrated regional Economic Community within which all Member States co-operate to achieve economic prosperity through sustainable growth and high standard of living for its people; promote peace, security and stability in order to enhance economic development in the region; and facilitate and enhance the free movement of goods, services capital and labour across national geographical borders.
The nineteen members of COMESA are Burundi, Comoros, DR of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe
Institutional Structure of COMESA
The Authority of Heads of State and Government and the Council of Ministers are the organs of COMESA which have the power to take decisions on behalf of COMESA Member States. The Authority is the supreme Policy Organ of the COMESA and is responsible for the general policy, direction and control of the performance of the executive functions of the Common Market and the achievement of its aims and objectives.
The Secretariat is based in Lusaka, Zambia. It is headed by a Secretary General who is appointed by the Authority for a term of five years and is eligible for re-appointment for a further term of five years. The basic function of the Secretariat is to provide technical support and advisory services to the Member States in the implementation of the Treaty. It mainly undertakes research and studies as a basis for implementing the decisions adopted by the Policy Organs. The Secretary General of the Secretariat is Mr Sindiso Ngwenya from Zimbabwe.
Indian Ocean Commission (IOC)
The Indian Ocean Commission was founded in Port Louis, Mauritius, on 20 December 1982 with three members, namely, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles. The “Accord Général de Coopération of Victoria” was signed in 1984 in Seychelles. In 1986, Comoros and France (Reunion) joined the organisation. The IOC Secretariat is located at Ebène, Mauritius.
The IOC implements a vast portfolio of projects spanning multiple fields: environment, tourism, development of trade, fishing, telecommunications, culture, handicraft, meteorology, development of the human resources. Most of the IOC projects are funded by the European Union. The IOC currently holds observer status at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and the African Union (AU).
The Council of Ministers is the supreme authority of the IOC. It meets once a year. The annual presidency rotates every year in alphabetical order of the countries. Mauritius is the current Chair. The Secretary-General of the Secretariat is appointed for a non-renewable four-year mandate. Mr Hamada Madi Boléro from Union of Comoros is the Secretary General of the IOC.
Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)
The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) was launched in Mauritius on 6-7 March 1997. The IORA Secretariat is based at Ebène, Mauritius. The current Secretary-General is H.E K.V. Bhagirath from India. The Council of Ministers is the supreme authority of the IORA.
The IORA comprises twenty one members, seven Dialogue Partners and one Observer:
· The members are: Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Federal Republic of Somalia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
· The Dialogue partners are France, Japan, Egypt, China, Germany, UK and US.
· The Observer is IORG (Indian Ocean Research Group) based in Perth.
The main focus of the IORA is on economic cooperation, trade liberalization and investment promotion. The six priority areas of cooperation with empowerment of girls and women as a cross cutting issue are:
· Maritime security and piracy
· Disaster risk reduction
· Trade & investment facilitation
· Fisheries management
· Academic and S&T cooperation
· Tourism and cultural exchanges