Envoys meet over SADC roadmap
Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi yesterday met ambassadors from SADC member-states to discuss modalities of developing an Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap ahead of the region’s Extraordinary Summit in Harare on April 30.
The roadmap will facilitate accelerated industrialisation through effective and practical interventions, while promoting and enabling the region to use its diverse resources to achieve economic and social development through beneficiation and value addition. Regional leaders resolved, during the 34th SADC Summit in Victoria Falls in August last year, to give impetus to beneficiation and value addition as part of a broader industrialisation strategy.
Speaking after the meeting, Minister Mumbengegwi said discussions were about “exchanging views” as the country prepares for the Extraordinary Summit. “We were directed to engage experts on industrialisation and we had a very constructive meeting as we went into fairly detailed discussions relating to arrangements being made for the Ministers responsible for regional integration who are going to prepare documentation for the Summit, then the issues relating to the meeting of Council of Ministers which will be held sometime next month and then the Summit itself.
“These Ministers should meet and look at the document relating to what our region can do to ensure that SADC has a roadmap on industrialisation.” Minister Mumbengegwi said ambassadors had offered “good suggestions” to ensure the planned meetings go well. “We did cover many areas of the procedures, arrangements, protocol, administrative and there were a lot of good suggestions to ensure the two Ministerial meetings go well and the Summit extraordinarily well,” he said. He said the Summit would primarily focus on industrialisation. “The idea being that Sadc needs an industrialisation roadmap, which can be implemented,” Minister Mumbengegwi said.
“You can talk of trade but you cannot trade if you do not have commodities to trade in. Therefore, the main idea behind this Summit is to see if we can come up with an identification of which country has got the best advantage to produce and process certain commodities, so that each SADC country is able to produce and process a number of commodities, which then can be used for our trade. This is best than to have a situation where a few have goods to trade in while others do not have anything and this is something we must work to do away with in the SADC region.”
Industrial development has been identified as one of the main drivers of integration in southern Africa as the region moves away from an economic path built on consumption and commodity exports onto a sustainable developmental path based on value addition and beneficiation. The Dean of African Diplomats and DRC Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Mwawapanga Mwanananga, said each country should have “comparative advantage in something.”
“It is going to be a give and take issue that means everybody brings something and gets something,” he said. “Our experts will tell us what needs to be done to ensure that the region becomes integrated economically. Another exciting issue that came out is the fact that the Summit is going to take place in Harare, which has more hospitality and accommodation, some of the challenges we had in Vic Falls.”
The challenge facing most countries in the SADC region is to transform their economies from being raw resource-dependent to ones that enjoy beneficiated products and are technology driven, dynamic and diversified.