Sometimes what official statements don’t say is as important as what they do. Such is the declaration released at the recent Southern African Development Community (Sadc) summit. The meeting, held in Pretoria, attracted public attention because it did not feature Zimbabwe’s first lady, Grace Mugabe, whose presence some seemed to think would be necessary for her to qualify for diplomatic immunity for an alleged assault. And, while it was expected there would be discussions on both political and economic challenges facing Southern Africa, reading the declaration left one wondering what had transpired behind closed doors in the capital. What the official communiqué of the 37th summit did not mention was trade. This is odd in the light of some indications of trade tensions during the interactions between Sadc ministers in the meetings held in the weeks leading up to the summit. Issues covered in the communiqué range from food security to gender representation in politics to recognition ...

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