With the support of the Flemish Government (Belgium EU), the Southern Africa Trust is convening a series of public dialogues on “Regional Integration and Development”, especially in the context of 15 Years of Democracy in South Africa. Between November 2010 and September 2011, the Trust will have organised four (4) public dialogues in collaboration with other relevant partners. These dialogues will focus on the following main topics:
- Business and development
- Cross border migration and social protection
- Food security in Southern Africa
- Governance, development and regional integration
The overall aim of these dialogues is to examine the challenges associated with making regional integration work for the poor and the specific role of South Africa in this noble endeavour. Accordingly, these dialogues are designed specifically to:-
- Bring researchers, practitioners, stakeholders, and policymakers together in public platforms on regional integration and poverty
- Focus on regional integration in specific thematic areas that are relevant to particular sectors;
- Generate mass media coverage of the specific issues raised in the discussions in order to widen and deepen dialogue to involve the general public;
- Build confidence amongst stakeholders in articulating views on regional integration; and
- Establish an informal non state actors’ network on regional integration and poverty.
The first public dialogue of the series was held on November 25, 2010 in Midrand and jointly hosted by the Southern Africa Trust (the Trust) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) on : “Business and development: Doing responsible business in Southern Africa”. The objective of the dialogue was to deepen the understanding between business and development and engage the stakeholders including researchers, practitioners, policy makers and the media on responsible business practices.
It is evident that in spite of all the efforts by governments, the level of poverty in Southern Africa remains high and is exacerbated by new challenges such as external shocks, natural disasters, recurring problems such as food insecurity and youth violence. This is because the model of development has not taken the social dimension of growth into consideration and has failed to tap the potential at the base of the pyramid.