The annual SADC People’s Summit is the flagship regional gathering of social movements, community-based organisations, faith-based organisations, trade unions and civil society organisations in the SADC Region. It is an open and inclusive space to deliberate, exchange and strategize on how SADC and individual governments, international financial institutions, private companies and other power wielders can be influenced to become more responsive to the plight of the earth, the poor and the marginalised. The Summit is convened each year to shadow and reflect the People’s views to the Annual SADC Heads of State Summit. Also known as the ‘Festival of the Poor’, the SADC People’s Summit is a critical point of convergence for those siding with the poor, the marginalised and the oppressed in the Region to collectively reflect on shared concerns and frame a collective programme of action. 

The 2021 SADC People’s Summit will be held in Lilongwe and virtually from the 17th to 27th of August under the theme Elevate Justice and Equality. Limited country and thematic delegations will attend physically in Lilongwe from 17 – 19 August, with the rest of the Region participating virtually. The Youth and Cultural Activists  will gather in Malawi and on virtual platforms from the 20th to 22nd of August. Summit will end with a Week of Learning and Action from the 23rd – 27th of August focusing on Tax Justice and Extractivism.

SAPSN thrives to be a “living space” connecting people-driven struggles and speaking truth to power. Our mantra Southern Africa is not for sale! remains thoroughly relevant amidst the greed and extractivism that has left our countries in debt, our citizens in need, and our natural resources destroyed. From working with small-scale farmers, rural women, young people, and activists impacted by democratic reversals, SAPSN has been rooted in an organic approach defined by strengthening rights awareness, building consciousness, and collective capacity to organize, resist and offer alternatives. 

Summit Thematic Sessions

Gender and Social Protection

A. Gender Justice and Women’s empowerment

B. economic decline, 

C. Climate impact and political instability in the SADC Region.

D. Youth Participation

E. Disability Rights and Inclusion

F. WASH and Covid 19 Management

G. Child Welfare

The Gender and Social Protection session will review the present condition of women, youth, the disabled and other vulnerable groups in a context of COVID-19, economic decline, climate impact and political instability in the SADC Region. The platform will seek to make an urgent call to SADC member states to consider the broader impacts of the Covid 19 pandemic on women, children and vulnerable members of society in a context of weak social protection measures and under-funded national vaccination programmes. 

Debt, Trade and Aid

A. Extractive Sector Governance

B. Tax Justice and Illicit Financial Flaws

C. Debt and Aid/AFCTA

D. Cross boarder Trading

E. Labour issues and information in the post COVID 19 recovery

F. Rural Women and Smallholder Farmers’ Market Access 

G. Value Chain development and value addition

The Debt, Trade and Aid session will reflect on major developments in regional debt, trade and aid processes and their impacts on marginalized citizens. Spotlight will be on the making the mining sector and corporate bodies pay their fair share of taxes and on the reversal of asymmetric debt and aid relationships which undermine the ability of national governments to finance developmental needs. The extractive sector has a big potential to generate the much-needed domestic revenue that will help member states to finance not only social services like health, education and agriculture but also reduce budgetary deficits that member states are grabbling with.

Human Rights, Governance, Peace and Security

A. Eswatini solidarity

B. Regional response to the Mozambique conflict

C. Civic Space, democratization and non-state actors engagement with SADC

D. Human rights & Human Rights Defenders 

E. Conflict, militarism and human insecurity in the SADC Region

The Human Rights, Governance, Peace and Security session will broadly reflect on measures to address regional instability and democratic decline with a particular focus on the situation in the Kingdom of Eswatini. The session will also receive feedback from the 12 August General Elections in Zambia to inform engagement on electoral conditions in SADC. Growing conflict, militarism and declining human rights conditions in the Region will also come under the spotlight.

Climate change, Natural Resources and Environment

A. Climate Change Adaptation and Financing

B. Climate Justice

C. Disaster Risk Management

D. Making mining work for the people in Southern Africa

The Climate change, Natural Resources and Environment session will engage on the impacts of extractives and climate change on poor and marginalized people in the Region. With the upcoming COP 26 in mind the session will develop a specific regional people’s position on emphasizing the urgency of robust climate policies and increased support to help vulnerable groups to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Joint Solidarity Sessions on the growing instability in Southern Africa 

The 2021 SADC People’s Summit will give specific attention to the destabilizing effects of the conflict in Mozambique, tensions in the Kingdom of Eswatini and growing instability in the Southern African Region. Special solidarity sessions will receive feedback from civic leaders and community representatives to inform Summit’s shared positions and collective way forward

Role of Faith Leaders in promoting peace and human security within the SADC Region 

Faith Leaders from the SADC Region will lead a series of events to reflect on the role of faith leaders in promoting peace and security in the SADC Regions. Visiting faith leaders are expected to participate in various events including a high-level panel discussion, prayer service and Church-led engagements with duty bearers on specific issues. These events will leverage the historic role of the Church in facilitating non-violent solutions to some of the Region’s most intractable social and political challenges.

Regional Youth Debates and Cultural Activism Weekend, 19 – 22 August

The Weekend of the 20th of August is dedicated to the annual Regional Youth Debates. The Debates are held to give young people from the Region an opportunity to critically reflect on pressing regional issues from a youth perspective. The Debates will be extensively publicized on Radio and social media platforms accompanied by youth-centred cultural activism. A special Youth Solidarity Rally on Eswatini will also be held as part of proceedings.

Week of Learning and Action, 23 – 27 August 

The Week of Learning and Action will focus attention on the urgent need to address illicit financial flows and tax injustice in the Extractive Sector in Southern Africa. Our resource dependent economies in Southern Africa are prevented by illicit financial flows, and unjust and inequitable taxation frameworks from effectively mobilising the public resources required to address pressing public needs. Its therefore time to acknowledge and rally behind efforts to increase domestic resource mobilisation from the extractive sector in line with the Africa Mining Vision (AMV) and the African Minerals Resource Governance Framework (AMRGF). Escalating poverty and inequality exacerbated by COVID-19 pandemic with marginalised groups, women, youth, and children saddled with the disproportionate burdens compels governments to do more to optimise domestic resource mobilisation efforts. 

The SADC’s mineral wealth portfolio and its attendant resource governance frameworks at national and regional levels have high and intolerable vulnerabilities to illicit financial flows and corruption Add to that, unaccountable dark and unstainable resource backed loans are increasing the Regional Debt crisis to unsustainable levels. Resource linked conflicts including the Cabo Delgado conflict in Northern Mozambique and numerous other low intensity conflicts threaten regional peace and stability. Urgent reforms are required to ensure that the extractive sector pays its fair share in taxes across all SADC countries. The SADC Region as a key natural resource hub must not be left behind ongoing global financial and tax architecture reforms as witnessed through the UN FACTI panel report, G7 proposal on global minimum tax; the two-pillar approach of OECD’s Inclusive Framework; 

The Extractive Sector in the Southern Africa Region must comply to emerging global standards and norms particularly the: accelerated push towards decarbonization and transition to clean energy; and the push for open governance of the extractive sector through Beneficial Ownership (BO) disclosure and contract transparency 

The goal of the Week of Learning and Action is therefore to put tax justice, illicit financials flows and extractives on the SADC public agenda for critical engagement and concerted urgent action. The objectives of the Week of Learning and Action are:

To strengthen CSO structures at national and regional level that can provide leverage for engagement on taxation and illicit financial flows in the extractive sector.

To raise popular awareness and understanding of national, regional and international factors affecting taxation of the extractive sector and their impact on Africa.

To lay the foundation for a fit-for-purpose model to operationalise multi-stakeholder initiatives to address tax justice in the extractives 

It is expected that the Tax Justice and Extractive Week will accelerate sustained dialogue and engagement on tax justice, curbing IFFs in the extractive sector at national, regional and global levels.