The first regional webinar discussed the initial pandemic response of the hub’s parliaments. After that success, the hub held a second regional meeting on 26 October against the background of the pandemic, inter-parliamentary cooperation through the SADC-PF, and the need for parliaments to adopt technologies for hosting virtual meetings.
The Secretary General of the SADC-PF opened the meeting. IT Directors and senior IT staff from SADC-PF member parliaments then gave presentations. The objective of the meeting was to establish a requirements baseline for policies that would give guidance on how to use new technologies after the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting also sought to consolidate the different ways that member parliaments had innovated in the face of the pandemic to enable parliamentarians to perform their duties. Issues surrounding connectivity, infrastructure and meeting management systems, and trends such as emerging 5G and high‑performance cloud computing were considered at length.
The opportunities and challenges of the pandemic and the adoption of new technologies were discussed. Most of the challenges hinged on the state of ICT infrastructure, low bandwidth for running parliamentary meetings via video conferencing, and in-house systems. The meeting concluded by discussing the position of the SADC-PF on embracing these technologies, and how to train parliamentarians effectively (using virtual platforms) on new technologies that affect the way they perform their duties.
 Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum