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Southern African Development Community Flag

Jun 28, 2017


Members : Angola, Botswana, Democratic republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland,Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) was established in August 1992 and is the successor to the Southern African Development Coordinating Conference which was initially set up in 1980. Through regional co-operation SADC seeks to promote collective self-reliance and the forging of closer links among its member states to create genuine and equitable regional co-operation.

The SADC flag was officially launched on 28 August 1995 at the SADC Summit held in Kempton Park near Johannesburg, South Africa, and has a dark blue field with a green circle in the centre in which the SADC logo in gold is superimposed. The blue symbolises the sky and oceans which provide water for survival while green represents the region's rich flora and fauna as well as agricultural potential. The abundant mineral wealth of the region is represented by the gold lettering.

The Southern African Development Community  is the successor to the Southern African Development Coordinating Conference (SADCC - pronounced sadekk) which was established by the former "front-line states" in southern Africa and Zimbabwe at the latter's independence in 1980 in order to reduce economic dependence on South Africa and to pursue policies aimed at the economic integration of their economies. The original nine member states - Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe - identified four strategic goals:

  • Reduce dependence of the region on the outside world, and in particular on South Africa.

  • Promote collective self-reliance of the member countries.

  • Promote and co-ordinate economic co-operation through a project and sector-led approach.

  • Provide joint action to secure international understanding of, and practical support for, the SADCC strategy.

The membership of SADCC was expanded to ten with the independence of Namibia in 1990.

While the progress towards the reduction of the region's dependence and towards economic integration of the economies of the countries of southern Africa has been modest, SADCC was an effective instrument to secure international investment for a number of strategic projects in the region, particularly in the transportation and communications sector where 216 projects worth US$6,6 billion (75% of investment) was committed during its first decade of existence.

SADCC had a secretariat and headquarters in Gaborone, capital of Botswana. Sector Coordinating Units are housed in each member country with the functions being performed by designated officials in the host country's sector ministry, i.e. agriculture in Zimbabwe, energy in Angola, mining in Zambia, tourism in Lesotho, etc.

The logo adopted by SADCC at its inception comprised the inter-twining of the letters of its acronym in black on a white background. This also formed the basis of a SADCC flag which flew outside the secretariat headquarters in Gaborone and at the various SADCC summits and Ministerial Meetings held throughout the region.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) was established in August 1992. It succeeds SADCC although it intends to be quite distinct from it in form and structure. The new SADC represents an ambition to achieve a deeper and wider form of economic integration amongst the member states moving beyond sector-level co-ordination towards co-operation, convergence and eventually integration in areas such as monetary and fiscal policies, exchange rate and trade regimes and the unrestrained movement of capital and labour as well as goods and services within southern Africa.

The new SADC also differs from its predecessor in that it is a more formalised entity and has appropriate legal status with a Treaty being signed by the member countries' Heads of State at the Windhoek Summit in August 1992.

In terms of the provisions of the SADC Treaty, SADC's stated objectives are to:

  • achieve development and economic growth, alleviate poverty, enhance the standard and quality of life of the peoples of southern Africa and support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration;

  • evolve common political values, systems and institutions;

  • promote and defend peace and security;

  • promote self-sustaining development on the basis of collective self-reliance, and the inter-dependence of member states;

  • achieve complementarity between national and regional strategies and programmes;

  • promote and maximise productive employment and utilisation of resources of the region;

  • achieve sustainable utilisation of natural resources and effective protection of the environment;

  • strengthen and consolidate the long-standing historical, social and cultural affinities and links among the peoples of the region.

In order to achieve these objectives the Treaty requires SADC and its membersto:

  • harmonise political and socio-economic policies and plans of members states;

  • encourage the peoples of the region and their institutions to take initiatives to develop economic, social and cultural ties across the region, and to participate fully in the implementation of the programmes and projects of SADC;

  • create appropriate institutions and mechanisms for the mobilisation of the requisite resources for the implementation of the programmes and projects of SADC and its Institutions;

  • develop policies aimed at the progressive elimination of the obstacles to free movement of capital and labour, goods and services, and of the peoples of the region generally, among member states;

  • improve economic management and performance through regional cooperation;

  • promote the development and transfer and mastery of technology;

  • promote the coordination and harmonisation of international relations of member states;

  • secure international understanding, cooperation and support, and mobilise the inflow of public and private resources in the region;

  • develop such other activities as member states may decide in furtherance of this Treaty.

Under the Treaty's other provisions the headquarters of SADC will remain in Gaborone. The net effect of the Treaty is to give greater powers to SADC, particularly the Secretariat, than was the case under SADCC. SADC will continue to be governed by a Summit comprising the Heads of State and Government of all member states and a Council comprising one Minister from each member to advise the Summit on matters of policy and efficient and harmonious functioning and development of SADC.

Following the holding of democratic elections in South Africa in April 1994, South Africa became the eleventh member state of SADC in August 1994. Subsequently Mauritius, Seychelles and the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) have also become members, bringing the total to 14 member states. Membership of SADC by the countries of southern Africa indicates the desire for regional economic integration and the creation of a common market. While the SADC Treaty specifically does not provide target dates, the Treaty is a document which provides the basis for an evolutionary economic, political and institutional process to which all the countries in the region have committed themselves.

With the adoption of the Treaty and the new role and membership of SADC the need to adopt a new logo and flag became obvious. The inspiration and ideas for the new flag came from the grassroots response to a SADC flag competition. Over a thousand entries were received from the citizens of member countries. The logo was amended to reflect the new acronym in the same style as used previously. A number of flag designs were proposed towards the end of 1994 and a new flag came into use at the beginning of 1995. The new flag has a blue field with a green circle in the centre (occupying 75% of the width of the flag) in which the SADC logo in gold is superimposed. In the official description of the meanings of the colours, blue symbolises the sky and oceans which provide water for survival while green represents the region's rich flora and fauna as well as agricultural potential. The region's abundant mineral wealth is depicted by the gold lettering. The new flag was officially launched on 28 August 1995 at the SADC Summit held at the World Trade Centre in Kempton Park near Johannesburg. According to SADC executive secretary Karie Mbuende the flag served to mark a formal transition from the development community's founding mandate as a loose co-ordinating conference to a community.