The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has been in existence since 1980, when it was formed as a loose alliance of nine majority-ruled States in Southern Africa known as the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC), with the main aim of coordinating development projects in order to lessen economic dependence on the then apartheid South Africa. The founding Member States are: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
SADCC was formed in Lusaka, Zambia on April 1, 1980, following the adoption of the Lusaka Declaration – Southern Africa: Towards Economic Liberation.
The transformation of the organisational from a Coordinating Conference into a Development Community (SADC) took place on August 7, 1992 in Windhoek, Namibia when the Declaration and Treaty was signed at the Summit of Heads of State and Government, thereby giving the organisation a legal character.
SADC was established under Article 2 of the SADC treaty by SADCC Member States represented by their respective Heads of State and Government or duly authorised representatives to spearhead economic integration of Southern Africa.
The current priority is to consolidate the SADC free trade agreement. This work programme seeks to facilitate the accession of Member States that are not yet participating in the SADC FTA; fully implement the FTA; focus on trade facilitation; address non-tariff barriers; simplify Rules of Origin; harmonise regional standards and technical regulations; and implement harmonised regional customs documentation and procedures.