On Thursday, November 17, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center hosted a strategy session for Southern African Development Community (SADC) ambassadors on the response to the drought in southern Africa. The session was led by the Honorable R. David Harden, assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance at the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
Following a welcome by Africa Center Deputy Director Bronwyn Bruton and introductory remarks by Harden, Famine Early Warning Systems Networks (FEWSNET) analysts presented a briefing on the severity of food insecurity and market constraints in Southern Africa.
Subsequent discussion focused on the FEWSNET team’s analysis and highlighted the importance of anticipating environmental shocks ahead of time. Particular mention was made of SADC’s strong leadership role in managing the crisis and participants noted the importance of timely “state of disaster” declarations to trigger humanitarian responses from partner countries. The discussion also addressed avenues for improved knowledge sharing between SADC member states and US government data experts.
Participants included His Excellency Martin Andjaba, ambassador of the Republic of Namibia to the United State; His Excellency Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu, ambassador of the Republic of South Africa to the United States; His Excellency Carlos dos Santos, ambassador of the Republic of Mozambique to the United States; His Excellency Edward Yakobe Sawerengera, ambassador of the Republic of Malawi to the United States; His Excellency Professor Eliachin Molapi Sebatane, ambassador of the Kingdom of Lesotho to the United States; and Ms. Emolemo Morake, deputy ambassador of the Republic of Botswana to the United States.