All set for the SADC Extraordinary Summit
The SADC Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government to be held in Harare, Zimbabwe on 29 April will deliberate on a wide range of issues, particularly on how southern Africa could fully benefit from its vast natural resources.
This is in realization of the fact that countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are getting very little in return from their resources since most of the value-addition and beneficiation is taking place outside the region.
In this regard, SADC has been developing a strategy on how the region could develop and strengthen its industrial base to accelerate the growing momentum towards strengthening the comparative and competitive advantages of the economies of the region.
SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax told a media briefing prior to the Extraordinary Summit that the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap has been finalized and is now ready for presentation to the SADC leaders for their approval.
This follows the endorsement of the strategy by both the Ministerial Task Force on Regional Economic Integration and the SADC Council of Ministers that met in Harare on 12 and 27 April respectively.
“I wish to report that the draft Strategy and Roadmap are ready and will be presented to the Extraordinary Summit,” she said, adding that once approved, the strategy will be “a living policy framework” that will guide the regional integration agenda of southern Africa.
The strategy, whose drafting was spearheaded by a team of regional and national consultants appointed by the SADC Secretariat is anchored on three pillars, namely industrialisation, competitiveness and regional integration.
The strategy, covering the period 2015-2063 is aligned to Agenda 2063, which is a continental strategy that aims to optimize the use of Africa’s resources for the benefit of all Africans.
During the period 2015-2020, SADC will strive to progress from being factor-driven to being investment-driven.
From 2021-2050, the region will aim to advance to being an innovation-driven economy, while the period 2051-2063, the target for SADC is to achieve high levels of economic growth, competitiveness, incomes and employment.
The development of the strategy was initiated by the 34th SADC Summit held in August 2014 that mandated the Ministerial Task Force on Regional Economic Integration to develop a strategy and roadmap for industrialization in the region.
Dr Tax said in addition to the industrialization strategy, the summit will also receive the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) for their consideration.
The RISDP is a 15-year strategic plan approved by SADC leaders in 2003 as a blueprint for regional integration and development.
The plan has been under review as part of efforts to realign the region’s development agenda in line with new realities and emerging global dynamics, and has now taken into account issues of industrialisation.
For its part, the Revised RISDP identifies four main priorities to be pursued by the region from 2015-2020.
For example, Priority A seeks to promote industrial development and market integration through, among other things, strengthening the productive competitiveness and supply side capacity of member states as well as improving movement of goods and facilitating financial market integration and monetary cooperation.
Priority B is on provision and improvement of infrastructure support for regional integration.
Priority D is on promotion of special programmes of regional dimension under clusters such as education and human resource development; health, HIV and AIDS and other communicable diseases; food security and trans-boundary natural resources; environment; statistics; gender equality; and science, technology and innovation and research and development.
The above three priorities will be underpinned by Priority C on promotion of peace and security.
Chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi urged the region to collectively work together in implementing the Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap and the Revised RISDP.
“All these strategies will not succeed unless we pay special attention to improving cooperation between the state and the private sector,” Mumbengegwi, who is also Zimbabwean Foreign Affairs Minister said.
He said the state and the private sector “should work as hand in glove” if the regional integration agenda is to be pushed forward.
The Extraordinary Summit is also expected to consider the SADC common position on negotiations for the continental Area (CFTA).
Negotiations to establish the CFTA are scheduled to commerce in June, hence the common position will ensure that SADC countries speak with one voice.
On the impeding launch of a Grand FTA involving the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC), the leaders will receive a report on the status of SADC preparedness for the enlarged market.
The Grand FTA to be launched in June is expected to create a wider market covering 26 countries in eastern and southern Africa with a combined population of approximately 600 million people, spanning from Cape to Cairo.
The SADC Extraordinary Summit is also expected to deliberate on other issues, including the political situation in the region, as well as the recent xenophobia attacks on SADC citizens in South Africa. – sardc.net