Délégation de l'Union européenne au Burkina Faso


Southern African Development Community (SADC)

23/06/2016 - 11:00
Relations with International Organisations and Fora

The Delegation of the European Union in Botswana is also responsible for managing official relations between the European Union (EU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The relations between the EU and SADC are conducted within the framework of the Cotonou Agreement, the global agreement between the countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group and the EU.

SADC currently consists of 16 Member States:


  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • Comoros
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Lesotho
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mauritius
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Seychelles
  • South Africa
  • Swaziland
  • United Republic of Tanzania
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe


The main objectives of SADC are to achieve development, peace and security, and economic growth, to alleviate poverty, enhance the standard and quality of life of the peoples of Southern Africa, and support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration, built on democratic principles and equitable and sustainable development.

EU is committed to work together with the region to eradicate poverty through various support instruments. The Cotonou Agreement sets up the framework of the Partnership between the EU and SADC and is based on three pillars:

  • Political dialogue (known as the "Berlin Initiative with SADC)
  • Trade for Development 
  • Development Co-operation

For more information on SADC, please visit the website of SADC www.sadc.int


In recognition of SADC's political mandate as adopted by SADC's Summit in Windhoek in 1992 and the accession of South Africa to SADC in 1994, the EU and SADC launched a political dialogue with a first Ministerial Meeting in 1994 in Berlin - now known as the Berlin Initiative. The Initiative created a structure for enhanced and comprehensive political dialogue between the two parties with a view to contribute to peace, democracy and sustainable development in the SADC region. The latest Ministerial Meeting took place in Pretoria, South Africa in March 2018

To accede the final communiqué please click here

The EU is the largest trading partner of the SADC EPA group. In 2015, the EU imported goods worth almost €32 billion from the region, mostly minerals and metals. The EU exported goods of nearly the same value, consisting mostly of engineering, automotive and chemical products.

The EU provided preferential access to its market for decades through the Lomé conventions. However, under the Cotonou Agreement, a new type of regional trading arrangement, known as the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) was launched. EPAs are comprehensive development agreements and their objectives are to reduce poverty, diversify economies and create employment through enhanced intra-regional integration and through a carefully managed opening towards the world economy.

The EU and Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland concluded negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in 2014 and the Agreement was signed in Kasane on 10 June 2016. Angola has an option to join the agreement in the future.

The EU-SADC EPA was ratified by all SADC EPA States with the exception of Mozambique and the Agreement entered into provisional application on 10 October 2016. Mozambique  began provisionally applying the EPA on 4 February 2018 thus making the agreement the first regional EPA in Africa to be fully operational.  

Going beyond the ambition of other trade agreements, the EPA offers unprecedented opportunities. Duty-free, quota-free access to the EU market is guaranteed for all goods originating in Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Swaziland.

South Africa  benefits from new market access additional to the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA), that currently governs the trade relations with the EU. The new access includes better trading terms for wine, sugar, fisheries products, flowers and canned fruits.

The EU obtains meaningful new market access into the Southern African Customs Union (products include wheat, barley, cheese, meat products and butter), and will have the security of a bilateral agreement with Mozambique, one of the LDCs in the region.

The EPA has been constructed so as to give asymmetric access to the partners in the SADC EPA region. Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Swaziland do not need to reciprocate the EU offer of 100% access. South Africa does not need to reciprocate the 95% access offered by the EU. Instead, they can shield sensitive products from full liberalisation.

The EPA is carefully designed to be compatible with the operation of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). There will be a single external tariff schedule and quota arrangements applied to imports from the EU.

The 10th European Development Fund (EDF) programme for the SADC region has been running since 2008 and the last programmes were adopted formally in 2013.

Several ambitious programmes are on-going financed by the 10th EDF:

  • The M€ 20 regional economic integration support programme aiming at enhancing the movement of goods and services within SADC, facilitating investments and supporting the negotiations and implementation of the SADC-EU Partnership Agreement.
  • The M€ 32 Trade related Facility assisting the SADC Member States to achieve their commitments in terms of the SADC trade protocol and the SADC-EU Partnership Agreement.
  • The M€ 18 Regional Political Cooperation programme providing assistance to the development of democratic institutions, mediation capacities, regional capacities in respect of disaster risk reduction and address cross border crime related to trafficking in persons.
  • The SADC Project Preparation and Development Facility amounting for M€ 12 aims at developing viable regional infrastructure projects that could readily obtain financing for their construction.

A M€12 capacity building programme is also implemented to ensure that the SADC Secretariat remains an internationally compliant governance structure.  The two parties took stock of the results reached under the current programmes and had some fruitful discussions regarding the remaining challenges.

Based on this fruitful cooperation, SADC and EU agreed to frontload a number of new programmes in 2016 under the 11th EDF in the areas of Regional Agricultural Policy; Capacity Development; Regional Economic Integration, Regional Political Cooperation and Regional Natural Resource Management.

For more information please look at the SADC-EU cooperation factsheet.

See Also