SADC increases the voice of private sector for regional industrialisation and integration
The SADC region is poised for accelerated regional integration and growth. Current efforts to ensure such development include the implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063 and the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP).
These extensive frameworks are enabling critical role players for socio-economic development to coordinate their activities with the aim of achieving set goals and targets.
In the past, a major challenge with executing regional frameworks that require public-private collaborative efforts has been limited engagement between business and government role players during the development of policies that facilitate such activities.
During a recent meeting of SADC’s National and Regional Business Apex Bodies themed the SADC Business Council Founding Meeting, participating delegates officially adopted and endorsed the platform which will become the formal regional body for engaging with all SADC structures through the channels of the SADC Secretariat.
“The SADC Business Council will foster a stronger working relationship between the public and private in the execution of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063. We are honoured that SADC’s National and Regional Business Apex Bodies have appointed the NEPAD Business Foundation (NBF) as an interim Secretariat for the SADC Business Council until mid-2019,” said Peter Varndell, NBF’s CEO.
The SADC Business Council will build on the successes and achievements of the Southern Africa Business Forum (SABF) particularly the Pharmaceutical working group and the hosting of the annual SADC Industrialisation Week (SIW) events over the past three years.
NBF projects and programmes are going to allow the SADC Business Council to leapfrog in terms of milestones as its activities will piggy back on the success of the Secretariat. These projects include the North-South Rail Corridor (NSC) which is focused on the optimisation, rehabilitation and upgrade of the railway network for the corridor which runs from the mining district of Kolwezi in the DRC to the ports of Durban and Richards Bay in South Africa and the SADC Regional Gas Task Force which is a multi-stakeholder platform for public-private sector dialogue designed to enable and support the monetization of the natural gas resources within the SADC region among others.
During the SADC Business Council Founding Meeting, which was organised by the NBF, Southern Africa Trust and supported by the SADC Secretariat and European Union, SADC’s National and Regional Business Apex Bodies agreed on the composition of the SADC Business Council’s Steering Committee, operational purpose and overall objectives in the short term.
“The SADC Business Council’s vision is to centralise high level public-private dialogue aimed at steering a successful regional market driven economy that supports growth, development and wealth creation. Much of the Council’s immediate activities will include lobbying for businesses and boosting the capacity of local private sector at regional level. This means advocating for an enabling and competitive business environment as well as supporting and strengthening local institutions and organisations”, said Ulrich Klins, Southern Africa Trust’s Public-Private Partnerships Manager.
The Council will have a wide scope in focus which will include advocating for more efficient protocols on trade; labour; employer-employment relations as well as foster SMME development in the region. The SADC Business Council is also going to allow for a more organised process of learning and sharing of experiences across the region as well as facilitating the efficient trickling down of regional policies at national level in SADC countries.
The SADC Business Council is going to increase the voice of private sector within the structures of government, allowing for early stage input in policy development. The Council will also table private sector proposals and action plans in support of government efforts aimed at regional industrialisation and integration as well as mobilise private sector resources to support SADC’s socio-economic development.