Building Anticipatory Governance in SADC: Post-COVID-19 Conflict and Defence Outlook

Image: Getty, Jekesai Njikizana/AFP
Image: Getty, Jekesai Njikizana/AFP

Over the past four decades, SADC has been able to substantially advance the strategic goal of regional cooperation, coordination and eventual integration on many levels and is a prominent fixture on the Southern African landscape.


  • Southern Africa experiences domestic, continental and global turbulence. Peace and security, democracy and development are under threat. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated these trends.
  • Institutional and decision-making limitations hamper SADC’s ability to respond to large-scale crises – such as natural calamity (floods, cyclone, pandemic) or widespread violence (civil war, violent cross-border extremism).
  • Can anticipatory governance (AG) assist? AG is a nonpredictive approach to enhance present‐day preparedness, including through building capacities in foresight and multi‐stakeholder engagement, to steer away from possible future disruptive impacts.
  • By adopting AG, SADC might be able to explore plausible futures, build adaptive capacities and enhance preparedness to navigate uncertain futures.
  • The paper examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the region, analyses the insurgency in northern Mozambique and demonstrates the scenario technique to explore alternative ways of anticipating future developments.
  • A deep security sector review is recommended, among others, for SADC to better manage its dynamic and fast-changing peace and security environment.

Anticipatory Governance: an explainer:

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11 May 2021