Industrialization tops SADC agenda as South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry visits SADC Secretariat
The Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of South Africa, Honorable Dr. Rob Davies on 31st October 2017, visited the SADC Secretariat in Gaborone, Republic of Botswana to discuss ways of moving forward the SADC Industrialization Agenda, in line with the SADC theme: “Partnering with private sector in developing industry and regional value chains”.
The visit by Hon. Davies comes just few months after the Republic of South Africa assumed the Chairpersonship of the SADC during the 37th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government held in August 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa.
The visit also follows the SADC Summit’s adoption of SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap in April 2015, in Zimbabwe and the costed action plan in March 2017, in Swaziland. The implementation plan seeks to identify projects and programmes to develop regional value chains that not only promote industrial development but integration in the region.
During the visit, Davies was welcomed to SADC House by the Executive Secretary of SADC, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax. Dr Tax said the visit to SADC Secretariat by the Minister and his team was a confirmation of the Republic of South Africa’s commitment to work with the Secretariat in ensuring concrete deliverables while operationalizing the 37th SADC Summit theme, and in doing so contribute to the SADC Industrialization agenda.
Davies said that the Government of South Africa was committed to render support to accelerate the rolling out of the pdf SADC Industrialization Strategy and Action Plan 2015-2063 (2.34 MB) within the region. “As the Chair, we would like to avail some of our capacities, skills and institutions at the disposal of the SADC Region to develop regional value chains,” Hon. Davies said.
The meeting agreed on the framework to guide the development of the implementation plan and selection of regional projects that will be key to driving the industrialisation agenda in SADC. The envisaged plan is to be considered by the SADC Ministers in March 2018. As the current chair of SADC, South Africa will ensure that this deliverable is realised on the agreed timeframes with the Secretariat.
The meeting identified Value Chains in agro-processing, mineral beneficiation, and pharmaceutical sectors as priorities that the region can focus on during the year. The meeting further agreed to form interdisciplinary expert technical teams, involving both public and private sector representatives, that would champion the identified priority value chains.
The meeting also discussed the need for the formation of a repository of all previous studies on potential bankable projects from each sector as well as providing specific training opportunities to build capacity to support Industrialization in Member States. They also agreed to have short-term plan with key outputs to be presented to a high-level meeting of Member States for consideration and possible adoption.
The Executive Secretary was accompanied by the Deputy Executive Secretary responsible for Regional Integration, Dr. Thembinkosi Mhlongo and SADC Directors in related Directorates. The Deputy Executive Secretary, Dr. Mhlongo will lead the Technical Team from the SADC Secretariat side.