Building Anticipatory Governance in SADC: Post-COVID-19 Governance Outlook

The paper argues that existing governance systems in the region generally fall short of the adaptive capacity required to navigate complex and volatile problems such as the COVID-19 pandemic. A combination of factors such as endemic corruption, weak state society relations, and the stubborn legacies of the colonial project in the region has left a number of SADC member states in a condition of fragility. Over the years, many SADC states have experienced a decline in the capacity for accountable and developmental governance. As the region’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has revealed, these trends and the traditional models of governance and politics that underpin them make the region ill prepared to deal with the rapid changes and strategic surprises that are characteristic of the current age. To position the SADC region to better cope with the shocks and uncertain fluidity of our times, the paper proposes a shift towards anticipatory governance underpinned by a process of far-reaching social and institutional engineering designed to undo the legacies and structures of oppression, exclusion and discord in which societies and states in the region are entangled.