Accessibility links

Southern African Summit Opens With Call For Economic Integration


A 14-nation southern Africa summit has opened in Lesotho with calls for the countries to speed up economic integration.

Members of the Southern African Development Community hope to establish a free-trade area by 2008, a customs union by 2010 and a common market by 2015.

But Botswana President Festus Mogae said Thursday that the countries have not shown enough commitment to implementing those plans.

Mr. Mogae is the outgoing chairman of the SADC. He is handing over the post to Lesotho's King Letsie.

Members of the bloc also plan to discuss the fight against AIDS. Most southern African countries have high rates of HIV and AIDS infection, including Lesotho, where an estimated 28.9 percent of the population is living with the potentially deadly virus.

The two-day summit runs through Friday in Lesotho's capital, Maseru.

Members of the SADC include Angola, Botswana, Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

XS
SM
MD
LG