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In 1995 the SADC Council of Ministers approved the establishment of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secondary School Essay Competition to recognize the best work in the region. Since 1996 the SADC Secretariat has been coordinating the Secondary School Essay Competitions to encourage learners in the Region to understand the role of SADC and disseminate information on SADC in order to support the process of regional co-operation and integration.

The topic for the 2022 SADC Secondary School Essay Competition is “How can SADC boost productive capacities in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic?”

The topic is derived from the theme of the 41st Ordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government hosted by the Republic of Malawi in Lilongwe on 17th August 2021, which is; “Bolstering Productive Capacities in the Face of COVID-19 Pandemic for Inclusive, Sustainable, Economic and Industrial Transformation”.  The Summit theme seeks to accelerate the implementation of the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020–2030, in particular, the Industrialization and Market Integration pillar.



The wording of the think piece and content should aim at addressing the topic and at the same time promoting the SADC’s Objectives and Common Agenda.

All entries should be typed and submitted in electronic version in Microsoft Word document format, and in hard copies. Entrants should sign and initialize each page of the hard copy document to make sure that they have not been altered. All essays entering the competition should be in one of the SADC working languages, i.e. English, Portuguese and French.

Note: The essay should be 1200 words. The deadline for submission of entries to the Department of Basic Education is 14 April 2022.

Marking Guidelines:

The set of questions below are meant to guide entrants when responding to the question above. In answering the question above, secondary school learners should ensure that they address the questions listed below in their essays;

  1. From your understanding, how did COVID-19 spread so fast and how is it different from other pandemics that you have witnessed in the past, and what measures were put in place to contain its spread and mitigate its impact.   (240 words, 20 points);
  2. Discuss in length the effects and impact of COVID-19 pandemic in different sectors of the economy, (e.g. mining, tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, health, migration, cross border movement of goods and trade) and state the measures needed to support these sectors. (240 words, 20 points);
  3. How is bolstering productive capacities an effective measure to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, particularly, for the region to continue growing its economy, to support inclusive, sustainable, and industrial transformation.  (240 words, 20 points);
  4. Discuss the long-term solutions and interventions which can be used as a benchmark in dealing with future threats and outbreaks similar to the COVID19 pandemic? (240 words, 20 points); and
  5. Discuss the lessons you learnt through the period of the COVID-19 pandemic taking into consideration challenges and successes that were experienced. (240 words, 20 points).


Winners and Prizes

The SADC Secretariat has allocated a sum of US $ 1000 as prize money for the national winners of the competition in each Member State. The prize money will be divided as follows:

  • US $ 500 for the first prize
  • US $ 300 for the second prize
  • US $ 200 for the third prize

Each candidate will receive the equivalent of the prize money in South African Rands. The three national winning essays will be forwarded to the SADC Secretariat for consideration in the regional competition.


Eligibility Criteria:
  • Applicants must reside in South Africa,
  • Applicants must be  currently attending secondary school,
  • Essays must not be more than 2000 words but not less than 1000 (Arial 1.5 line spacing for typed essays),
  • Submissions must be the unaided work of applicants,
  • Submissions should be in English,
  • The name of entrants should be the same as those that appear on the Identification Document (ID) or Passport, and
  • Applicants must be willing and fit to travel.

To submit an entry:

Learners should forward their essays to one of the following officials:

  • Mr Lucky Maluleke: | 012 357 3494
  • Ms Zanele Rakumaku: | 012 357 3485
  • Ms Matome Sekgota: | 012 357 3373

The closing date for entries is 14 April 2022.

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