SADC Trade Protocol to be finalised in August | Botswana
gearing up for electionsa | Child malnutrition a major concern in
Angola | Local skills needed for demining in the region | Women theme for Zimbabwe's book fair
SADC Trade Protocol to be finalised in August
The majority of Southern African
Development Community (SADC) member countries are likely to ratify the organisation's
trade protocol by end of August this year. All contentious trade issues will be finalised
at a Trade Negotiation Forum(TNF) scheduled for Gaborone.
At the last meeting of the TNF in Lusaka recently, member states were allowed to adjust
their positions in the light of the evolution of the negotiations regarding their
A statement from the SADC secretariat says at the Lusaka meeting there was a general
consensus that the SADC Free Trade Area should substantially represent all trade and that
the lists of sensitive products be kept small.
Delegations at the meeting underlined that tariff liberalisation should be supported by
clear rules of origin. They agreed that experts in the sugar sector urgently discuss the
desirability of having a special arrangement for trade in sugar. It was further decided
that experts in the automotive sector of the region would meet to discuss a SADC trade
arrangement for that sector.
Sugar is regarded as a sensitive product by a number of countries such as Swaziland,
Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mauritius, some of which insist that they need to have it
protected against external trade within the region. (Mmegi)
Botswana gearing up for elections
The Botswana parliament convened
recently to pass a bill amending the electoral law to allow voters whose identity cards
have expired to register for the elections scheduled for October this year.
Of the 900,000 eligible Batswana voters, only 400,000 have so far registered, and the bill
is expected to boost the number of people registered to vote.
Botswana president Festus Mogae, has still to officially proclaim the election date in
polls expected to be won by the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) which has been in
power since the country gained Independence from Britain in 1966.(IRIN)
Child malnutrition a major concern in Angola
Child malnutrition in Angola has
reached levels worse than that at any previous time in over 20 years of civil war,
according to a new report published recently. The report, is based on the results of a
survey in the besieged government held central highlands city of Huambo by Save the
Children Fund (UK).
The survey showed that 16.7 percent of children under five in Huambo are suffering from
malnutrition of which 3.5 percent are severely malnourished.
Save the Children fears that such malnutrition is likely to be mirrored across the
population if the state of affairs continues, then immunity to disease will decrease and
mortality could rise in Huambo.
Malnutrition among Huambo's residents was "on par" with that suffered by tens of
thousands of internally displaced people in the city.
Nutritional surveys in Huambo show that in January 1994, 3.5 percent of children were
suffering from malnutrition. The levels dropped to 7.9 percent in September that year and
to 3.7 percent by April 1995, until the resumption of the war pushed the current figure to
Local skills needed for demining in the region
A regionally-based effort relying less
on foreign aid is needed to rid southern Africa of some 15 million unexploded land mines,
said Joao Ndlovu, a SADC official at a regional technical meeting held in Botswana
The participants resolved that demining operations would only be sustainable if local
capacity is developed. Most SADC countries do not have the technology and expertise to win
demining contracts, awarded by public tender, Ndlovu said.
"In most cases, companies that are awarded the contracts are foreign companies. They
rely on local people, but only at a very low level," he said
"Southern Africa is going to continue relying on technology that is consistent and
sustainable with our reality. That technology is the use of sniffer dogs and manual
demining," Ndlovu added.(IRIN)
Women theme for Zimbabwe's book fair
Preparations for this year's Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF) are at an advanced
stage and 250 exhibitors from 30 countries have confirmed their participation.
South Africa alone will be represented by 33 exhibitors with the rest coming from most of
Africa and Europe.
The theme this year is "women". The organisers intend to use the theme to
highlight women's information needs in Africa and to support women to enter and to be
effective within the information and publishing sector.
ZIBF organisers are working with women's information and publishing organisations in
Africa and internationally to develop a programme of seminars and training events.
The international forum Indaba, which is the annual curtain raiser to the book fair, will
be held under the theme " Women Voices, Gender Books and Development."
The fair would be held from 31 July - 2 August while the book fair would run from
3-7August. Meanwhile, a group of 11 American librarians will visit the book fair on a
scheme designed to forge links between well-funded American libraries and under-funded
institutions in developing countries.(Herald)