42nd SADC Heads of State Summit Concludes in Kinshasa

The Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) 42nd Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government will conclude today in Democratic

SADC summit Kinshasa

The Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) 42nd Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government will conclude today in Democratic Republic of the Congo’s capital Kinshasa. Photo: GCIS

The Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) 42nd Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government will conclude today in Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) capital Kinshasa.

The annual summit acts as the policy-making organ of the SADC, responsible for the Community’s overall policy direction and control of functions. This year, it will facilitate the final procedures for the transformation of the SADC Parliamentary Forum into the SADC Parliament.

The decision to transition into a regional parliament was approved by SADC leaders at last year’s summit, though it is still not finalized. Once operational, the regional parliament will observe and respect the sovereignty of member states, while drafting model laws for national parliaments to implement at the domestic level.

The extension of SADC parliamentary power highlights the rising legitimacy of the African Union’s Regional Economic Communities. This year, the regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has played a major role in facilitating political transitions back to civilian rule following coups in Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso. That said, expect SADC to follow suit, particularly concerning the crisis in its newest member DRC, as Kinshasa cannot ensure its territorial integrity due to armed conflict in its eastern provinces.