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The Revised SADC RISDP and plans for market integration and industrial development going forward


The Revised SADC RISDP and plans for market integration and industrial development going forward

William Mwanza, tralac Researcher, discusses the revision of the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP)

The Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) is the guiding document for the Southern African Development Community (SADC’s) regional integration and development programme over the period 2005 to 2020. During the course of its implementation, a desk assessment for the period 2005 to 2010 was carried out by the SADC Secretariat. An independent mid-term review was also carried out for the period 2005 to 2012. These and other consultations over recent years have emanated into a revised RISDP document, which was adopted by the Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of SADC on 29 April, 2015. This revised document will guide implementation of SADC programmes in the remaining period i.e. 2015 to 2020.

The vision and mission in the revised RISDP remain as they were in the initial document, as do its principles and objectives. It reviews the political situation and socio-economic developments in the region, as well as in continental and global contexts. It also records a sectoral analysis of RISDP achievements in the period 2005-2013. Challenges in implementation and coordination mechanisms are discussed, as are issues of sustainable resourcing, and monitoring and evaluation.

The main thrust and substantive outcome of the revised RISDP is a re-prioritisation of its focus areas and programmes, and a re-allocation of resources so as to make the regional integration agenda more effective.

The priorities of the initial RISDP were:

  1. Trade/economic liberalisation and development
  2. Infrastructure in support of regional integration
  3. Peace and security cooperation
  4. Special programmes with a regional dimension

The re-prioritised areas are as follows:

  1. Industrial development and market integration
  2. Infrastructure in support of regional integration
  3. Peace and security cooperation
  4. Special programmes with a regional dimension

As can be noted, the main change under priority A is a focus on industrial development within the market integration agenda. Priority B has now been directly aligned with the focus areas of the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan (RIDMP), namely energy, transport, tourism, information and communication technology (ICT), meteorology; and water. The special programmes with a regional dimension initially included education and human resource development; health, HIV and AIDS and other communicable diseases; food security and trans-boundary natural resources; statistics; gender equality; and science, technology and innovation and research and development. They now also include employment and labour; the environment; and a focus on the private sector. In taking implementation of the RISDP forward, it has been agreed that focus will be on Priorities A and B, with Priority D playing a catalytic role in achievement and fulfilment of Priorities A, B, and C.

The renewed focus in Priority A is worth considering in more detail. Firstly, with regard to market integration, it is important to recall that the initial RISDP envisaged that economic integration in SADC would proceed along a linear path, by forming a Free Trade Area by 2008; a Customs Union by 2010; a Common Market by 2015; Monetary Union by 2016 and an Economic Union by 2018. The integration agenda is still at the FTA stage and progress towards the other stages of integration has been shelved pending re-assessment and potentially the setting of new deadlines. The focus now is to consolidate the FTA, while synchronising it with the Tripartite Free Trade Area and the Continental Free Trade Area.

The plans to shelve and reassess the linear integration model is a welcome development as it will help to ascertain the viability of continuing on this track that SADC has been on, given its position in a dynamically evolving world of regional integration frameworks. In this regard, the launch of the TFTA and also of negotiations towards the CFTA this week and next week, respectively, will be instructive for plans for the region in its quest to effectively integrate into these arrangements. Relations with other global regions will also be important. A comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was initialled by a number of SADC countries in 2014. Consolidation of the SADC FTA would have to be done in line with this new context. At the same time, “mega-regionals” are currently being negotiated namely the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP); the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP); and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Dialogue on the impact of these mega-regionals on Africa’s trade and integration prospects is now well underway, as is evident by a workshop hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the International Institute for Sustainable Development in Nairobi, Kenya on 26 and 27 May, 2015. Although, the EPAs and mega-regionals have not been explicitly acknowledged in the revised RISDP, they are developments that would have to be factored into plans for consolidation of the SADC FTA.

The second important aspect within Priority A of the revised RISDP is the acknowledgement of the role that market integration has in industrial development, and an effort to pursue these jointly, particularly through the development of regional value chains. SADC’s market integration agenda is currently implemented through its Protocol on Trade. This Protocol contains various obligations on the part of Member States to facilitate trade in goods, including among others, tariff reduction, removal of non-tariff barriers, removal of quantitative import and export restrictions, rules of origin, trade facilitation, standards and technical regulations, and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures. As the revised RISDP is implemented, it will be imperative to draw lessons on how the implementation of such obligations by Member States currently promotes or undermines prospects for industrial development in the region. Apart from the Protocol of Trade, there are other related Protocols that play a vital role in industrial development such as those on Finance and Investment, and Services. There are also other pertinent sectoral Protocols, including among others, those on Education and Training; Employment and Labour; Energy; Transport, Communications and Meteorology; Mining; Tourism and Wildlife Conservation. As Priority A of the revised RISDP is implemented, it will be important to ensure that all these instruments (with their respective institutional frameworks) are harmonised so as to effectively take forward the market integration and industrial development agenda, also in line with Priority B on infrastructure as envisaged. This could be through the development of a comprehensive Protocol on Industrial Development, or by expanding the scope of the current Protocol on Trade to include Industrial Development.

The revised RISDP provides that preparation of SADC’s new long term plan – the SADC Vision 2050 – will commence in the period of its implementation i.e. from 2015 to 2020. These two aspects highlighted, namely consolidation of the SADC FTA in the context of continental and global regional integration frameworks; and a comprehensive review on the role of market integration in industrial development, will have to form important inputs into this process.



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