Revised RISDP: A New Growth Path for SADC’s Industrial Development?
In April 2015, the Extra-Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government from the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) adopted the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2015-2020. The RISDP was adopted by SADC Member States in 2003 as a 15-year plan to facilitate regional integration and development. The priorities of the initial RISDP were trade/economic liberalisation and development, infrastructure in support of regional integration, peace and security cooperation, special programmes with a regional dimension. Evidently, the initial plan had no clearly laid down plan to industrialise the region.
The mid-review of the RISDP considered the progress that had been made with respect to the implementation of, for example, the SADC Trade Protocol, and the specific targets that were adopted in the RISDP, including the deadlines for the implementation of the linear integration model. The review was not merely an exercise to adopt new target dates for implementation, but a more fundamental reflection and enquiry to ensure that regional and global realities were taken into account in the design of SADC implementation strategy. It is noteworthy that the adoption of the Revised RISDP coincided with the adoption of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy. This SADC Industrialisation Strategy 2015-2063 was adopted by the same Summit of Heads of State and Government. More importantly, one might want to understand what are the synergies, contradictions, new provisions in the RISDP, and which one is the leading document?
Developments in the world economy will have a direct or indirect impact on the efficacy of both the Revised RISDP and the SADC Industrialisation Strategy. It is therefore imperative on the part of policy makers to be conscious of these developments when evaluating these regional programmes and projects. In 2015, sub-Saharan Africa experienced its slowest economic growth rate since the 1998 global financial crisis. According to the IMF, the region’s real GDP growth fell from 5.0 percent in 2014 to 3.75 percent in 2015 and will rebound to 4.3 percent in 2016. Given recent global and regional trends, it is likely that the IMF will revise its 2016 sub-Saharan Africa growth forecast downward. This situation calls for strong macroeconomic policies to help the region bounce back. Not all is lost, though: global changes like these create opportunities for appropriate and timely policy measures that can make a difference and help sub-Saharan African economies regain their growth momentum both in the short and long terms.
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