SADC Convening should strengthen accountability to Human Rights and Business


SADC Convening should strengthen accountability to Human Rights and Business

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) this year will conduct her 39th Summit in Dar es Salaam Tanzania and the primaries were due from 05th August 2019. This is eventually an opportunity for the Government of Tanzanian and individuals to explore, learn and exchange on business, technology and investment in many ways. This years’ SADC summit theme is: “industrial economy and opportunities within SADC”. The theme effectuates with Tanzania’s industrialization drive – fifth Government’s major agenda towards a middle economy. SADC Summit 2019, to say the least, seeks to sensitize members on regional-economic opportunities.

The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) and the Tanzanian Non-Governmental Organisation (TANGO) will be participating in the SADC Meeting at various spaces allocated for Civil Society Organisations. These two entities will be collaborating with the SADC CNGO (SADC Coaliton of NGOs).

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) this year will conduct her 39th Summit in Dar es Salaam Tanzania and the primaries were due from 05th August 2019. This is eventually an opportunity for the Government of Tanzanian and individuals to explore, learn and exchange on business, technology and investment in many ways. This years’ SADC summit theme is: “industrial economy and opportunities within SADC”. The theme effectuates with Tanzania’s industrialization drive – fifth Government’s major agenda towards a middle economy. SADC Summit 2019, to say the least, seeks to sensitize members on regional-economic opportunities.

For understanding: Southern African Development Community (SADC) is an inter-governmental organization found in August 17, 1992, to further socio-economic cooperation and integration, security and political cooperation amongst southern African countries. 16 southern African countries are members to SADC up to date. SADC headquarters are in Gaborone Botswana.

SADC has very important Protocols passed by her heads of states (member states). These protocols are backbone of Human Rights in the Region. Today, only two of the protocols will be mentioned in this article; The SADC Protocol on Gender and Development and SADC Protocol on Legal Affairs.

The SADC Protocol on Gender and Development looks into integration and main streaming of gender issues into the SADC Programme of Action and Community Building initiatives which is important to the sustainable development of the SADC region.

The Protocol aims to provide for the empowerment of women, to eliminate discrimination and achieve gender equality by encouraging and harmonising the development and implementation of gender responsive legislation, policies and programmes and projects.

It is also a tool used to set realistic, measurable targets, time frames and indicators for achieving gender equality and equity and monitor and evaluate the progress made my Member States thereof. To this regard The Protocol clearly speaks to issues of constitutional and legal rights, governance, and education and training, productive resources and employment, gender based violence, HIV/Aids and Conflict Resolution.

This Protocol (Article 12 provides as follows, I quote; ‘…… 1. States Parties shall endeavor that, by 2015, at least fifty percent of decision-making positions in the public and private sectors are held by women including the use of affirmative action measures as provided for in Article 5.

 2. States Parties shall ensure that all legislative and other measures are accompanied by public awareness campaigns which demonstrate the vital link between the equal representation and participation of women and men in decision making positions, democracy, good governance and citizen participation.

The second important Protocol is the SADC Protocol on Legal Affairs. In order to perform their functions, effectively, SADC and its institutions require constant legal support and advice by a legal sector. To satisfy this need the Legal Affairs unit within the SADC Secretariat was formed. The SADC Protocol on Legal Affairs guides the work of the Legal Affairs Unit.

The main aim of the Legal Affairs unit is to provide legal advice and legal related services to SADC and its institutions, interpret, draft and develop legal documents/instruments for implementing the Treaty and SADC Protocols, facilitate the notification of the status, ratification ,accession and entry into force of SADC Protocols as well as provide litigation services.

The Protocol also defines the functional institutions for the implementation of Protocol.

The honor for Tanzanian to host 39th SADC Summit should not be underestimated. It really is a privilege, a room for stimulating and, deliberately, open liberation to Tanzanians – with current industrial drive within the nation. Tanzanians are welcome and expected to utilize the exhibitions for exchanging business experiences and technologies with multi-stakeholder attending the summit.

Yet, an opportunity for the Government of Tanzania, Civil Society Organizations and Multinational Corporations to show-case their commitments in delivering their mandate towards industrial economy drive. In fact, southern African countries are better placed to expound the theme by placing environment wanted for investment.

Recently, Tanzania and other southern African countries are adopting reforms to promote economic transformation, strengthening governance and rule of law. However, as mostly said by scholars and researchers – which I agree, institutional factors have habitually undermined their implementation. It has become so hard for nations including Tanzania to choose appropriate policies and their mode of operation.

We have seen vast development in various countries – carried with different theories. Much of those, successful or failed, are missing a technical component of sustainability. It is impractical for a nation to develop while disregarding the notion of sustainable development – a global agenda by 2030 (UN General Assembly, 2016).

The spirit of resource nationalism in Tanzania aligned with the need for major industrial development should address living questions of relative poverty, community rights and beneficial ownership of natural resources: mineral, oil and gas, land rights, environmental protection, inclusivity as well as a focus on insecurity and regional imbalances. SADC should bring a lesson to Tanzania to learn and unlearn best practices in promoting responsible behavior in business and investment.

For instance: in sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture is the primary employer for 60 adult workers (UNIDO, 2016). Agribusiness, once effectively used, may offer a unique opportunity for stimulating development. Tanzania cannot escape from seeing this opportunity by linking agri-business with industrialization on areas of tourism, raw materials production and exportation of agricultural produces.

On natural resources governance: extractives – minerals, oil and natural gas, tourism, agriculture, to mention but a few; Tanzania should strengthen her foreign and investment policy to welcome more investors. Political economy should suggest a fair business environment in the country right from institutions, legal and policy frameworks as well as the case with corporate social acceptability. Adoption of durable policies and best practice would assist Tanzania in investing sustainably whilst addressing adverse impacts. There is, essentially, no honor in planning and fail at execution.

More important, industrial economy should align with addressing human rights violation resulting from aggressive and unframed investment policies. SADC Summit should suggest a way forward on business and human rights in southern African countries. Benefits of industrialization should also reflect the core priorities and needs of communities.

On a similar note, Tanzania should redefine and/or find mechanisms for making trade preferences commercially meaningful to southern African economies. Global production and demands, regional value chains and expectations of locals should be reflected by promoting industrial clusters, design and operationalize available economic and industrial zones.

Southern African countries should strengthen national, regional and international understanding, peace and security. It is unbearable for developing countries to be victims of political traumas and civil wars in different cloth. For instance, limited space for civic and political rights, press freedom, participation rights, transparency and accountability in governance pulls off even the least efforts to reform the economy.  

Legal and Human Rights Centre believes that Tanzania and eventually Africa, is not destined to be behind the rest of the world economy.  

LHRC shall keep working towards consolidating the mandate of the Government of Tanzania by advocating for better and durable legal and policy frameworks supporting business and investment; promoting responsible business practices through producing annual situation reports on “human rights and business in Tanzania, developing tools such as “human rights strategy” as corporate guides, among others. On the other hand, SADC Summit 2019 should be an eye-opening to other African blocs – getting a common agenda on uplifting the spirit of pan-Africanism as it then it was.