SADC approve R40m grants to Madagascar, Seychelles
By Timo Shihepo
WINDHOEK – SADC has approved to give R20 million each to Madagascar and Seychelles to help the two island nations improve their participation in regional and international trade.
The grants were approved by the SADC trade related facility (TRF) programme steering committee, during its seventh meeting held in Gaborone last month.
The facility is a mechanism for financial and technical support given to SADC member states to help them implement commitments made under the regional Protocol on Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and the SADC EPA group.
SADC has approved the funding for Madagascar to strengthen border agency capacity by developing and implementing guidelines for border agency coordination.
SADC also wants Madagascar to improve the One-Stop-Shop for exporters through technical assistance towards its efficient operation and capacity building.
A one-stop shop is a company or a location that offers a multitude of services to a client or a customer.
SADC has also asked Madagascar to develop and implement a national trade promotion strategy; stakeholder capacity development; market research to identify tourism opportunities in the SADC region, especially targeting South Africa; and undertaking a number of trade promotion activities.
As for Seychelles, part of the money will help the country build its capacity in the application of the Automated System for Customs Data system.
This system is earmarked to improve the country’s functionality for valuation, risk assessment and cargo tracking and automation of the excise tax system, especially for domestic producers of excisable products.
The funds will also cover Seychelles’ development of a national legal framework and capacity building for trade remedies, particularly investigations related to anti-dumping.
Several countries have already signed financing agreements with the SADC secretariat to release the funds to the two islanders.
These are Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Swaziland and Zambia.
Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe are however yet to sign financing agreements.
According to SADC communications department these countries are currently reviewing their financing agreements under the Facility and are all expected to have their contracts finalized by the end of June 2017.
The overall objective of the Trade Related Facility is to improve the participation of SADC Member States in regional and international trade in order to contribute to sustainable development in the SADC region.