Building capacity to help Africa trade better

SADC pins growth on South Africa


SADC pins growth on South Africa

SADC pins growth on South Africa
Photo credit: GCIS

South Africa should take advantage of its comparative industrial advantage to lead other regional countries in building their manufacturing base to ensure collective socio-economic transformation in Southern Africa, SADC Chairman President Mugabe has said.

The President said roping the economic giant into regional industrialisation efforts would facilitate reciprocal trade and not open other countries to large-scale importation of South African products.

Addressing journalists at the end of the 34th Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government in Harare yesterday, President Mugabe said it was critical for the region to prioritise value addition and beneficiation ahead of market liberalisation.

He said collective industrialisation would help all regional countries derive higher value from their resources.

“But in the process, we also appeal to South Africa, which is highly industrialised, to lead us in this and to work with us and co-operate with us and not just to regard the rest of our countries as open markets for products from South Africa.

“... because we want a reciprocal relationship in which we sell to each other and not just receiving from one source. Products that we consume without our ability to sell to that source our own products which can add that value that I have made reference to on beneficiation.”

President Mugabe said Sadc was actively working towards its industrialisation objective and would convene a Summit specifically dedicated to the subject before May 2015.

Trade ministers, he said, have been tasked to strengthen the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan’s industrialisation pillar to establish a relationship between industrialisation and market liberalisation.

He said market liberalisation was futile without first building manufacturing capacity.

“Ministers will do preliminary work and we must discuss this before May next year, which means we must have another Summit to discuss this subject so we can look at how we can work together to integrate.

“Companies come together or different countries come together if they are producing the same product. What prevents them from coming together, creating a much larger production base so that the secondary industries, the factories they are going to establish, will rely on a larger base of primary goods to which they add value.”

Closing the Summit, the President said Sadc hoped to establish the Regional Development Fund to finance its programmes and reduce donor-dependence.

He advocated swift implementation of Summit decisions that benefit Southern African citizens, and also pledged to amplify Sadc’s voice at different forums.

“The decisions that we make will only be meaningful to the people if we implement them. We, therefore, need to improve our scorecard on that front.

“During my tenure as your Chairman, I pledge to represent the interests of our region at various fora so that the Sadc voice, programmes and projects, are ever present. This is a task that cannot be accomplished by the Chair alone.

“I, therefore, will count on your individual and collective support to steer the agenda of Sadc in order to achieve effective implementation of our programmes. I have no doubt that together we will succeed.”

President Mugabe took over Sadc chairmanship on Sunday and will over the next year lead the regional bloc towards its major objective of social and economic transformation through value addition and beneficiation.

Sadc has identified several key intervention areas under its Industrial Development Policy Framework of 2012.

The focus areas include sector-specific strategies for regional value chain development; promoting industrial upgrading through innovation; technology transfer and research and development; improving standards as well as technical regulations and quality infrastructure.

Others include upgrading skills for industrialisation; mechanisms for industrial funding; improving infrastructure provision for industrial development and promoting local cross border and foreign direct investment.

The Summit, attended by 13 Heads of State and Government, resolved that industrialisation be at the centre of integration efforts.

It also mandated the Ministerial Task Force on Regional Economic Integration to develop a strategy and roadmap for industrialisation.

In addition, the leaders directed the expeditious completion of Tripartite Free Trade Area negotiations to pave way for continental Free Trade Areas. FTAs are essentially agreements that remove trade barriers between or among member states.

On food and nutrition security, Summit endorsed the 2015 to 2025 Regional Food and Nutrition Security Strategy that aims to improve sustainable food availability, accessibility and utilisation.

The annual gathering also urged member states to put in place effective measures to deal with Ebola in the event of an outbreak in the region.

Click here to read the 34th SADC Summit Communiqué.


Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel +27 21 880 2010