SADC private sector meets in Harare
The Business Council of Southern Africa (BCSA) in collaboration with the NEPAD Foundation and the Association of SADC Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCCI) will be hosting a regional private sector conference alongside the extraordinary SADC Industrialisation Summit in Harare at the end of this month.
In a statement, the BCSA said the conference will be held under the theme “Positioning the Private Sector in Industrial Development, Beneficiation and Value Addition to Natural Resources.”
“This BCSA and NEPAD Foundation conference is coming at the right time as it will flag the private sector’s views on key economic developments such as industrial development, regional value chains and beneficiation of natural resources and is expected to proffer solutions for inclusive and evidence based policy direction,” the statement said.
BCSA added that the need for the private sector to have an input in regional trade and industrial policy formulation process cannot be over emphasised as the private sector players are the implementers of these economic policies.
Speakers will be drawn from key regional private sector enterprises, quasi government organisations and relevant government ministries from SADC member states.
Other high-level speakers include a former Head of State and trade experts from the region while a dinner will be attended by various ministers and government officials from the region.
“As BCSA and NEPAD Foundation, we fully support deeper regional integration and regional industrial development.”
More than 200 delegates from the region are expected to attend the regional conference.
The major output of the conference will be a position paper to be presented to the Council of Ministers for onward submission to SADC Heads of State and Government.
The April SADC extraordinary industrialisation summit in Harare avails an opportunity for the BCSA, Association of SADC Chambers of Commerce and Industry and NEPAD Business Foundation to convene concurrently a regional business conference.
The common agenda of SADC is defined in Article 5 of the SADC Treaty (1992) and the Report on the Review of Operations of SADC Institutions (2001).
The regional bloc focuses on promoting sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development; promoting common political values systems and other shared values; consolidating and maintaining democracy, peace and security.
SADC acknowledges the critically indispensable role of the private sector in regional development hence its Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) outlines specific outputs in the area of private sector involvement.
However, the private sector has not fully exploited opportunities to input, engage and influence regional development dynamics.
“The private sector is thus committed to ensure that the SADC leaders develop a road map that identifies priority actions required to improve productivity and competitiveness.
This is not only commensurate with the new dream and thrust on regional value chains and resource beneficiation, but also enhances industrial production and intra-regional business that emphasises comparative advantage,” BCSA said.
According to BCSA, the conference intends to amplify supply-side issues and constraints that have impeded the growth of SADC economies.
BCSA said the private sector is committed to playing its role in driving regional industrialisation towards a deeper integration agenda that includes services, investment, and competition policy while effectively addressing national level supply-side constraints.
“Our role transcends an agenda that focuses exclusively on border measures, nevertheless an issue the private sector has relentlessly championed.”
The BCSA is a regional apex private sector business representative body and acts as the voice of the private sector in SADC.
Its composition includes the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa, the Association of SADC Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Federation of Southern Africa Transport Associations, Federation of Clearing and Forwarding Associations of Southern Africa, SADC Banking Association, Southern Africa Railways Association, the timber and mining industries.