Elago’s Tenure At Sacu Receives Presidential Blessings

Paulina Elago, the new Executive Secretary for the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is the former chief trade negotiator for Namibia, and played a key role in the renegotiation of the 1969 SACU Agreement to the SACU Agreement of 2002. It is the implementation of this very agreement that she will now oversee as the executive secretary.

Naturally her key priorities as new executive secretary, she says, will be to further the SACU agenda, taking forward the work set by the Summit of Heads of State and Government. “One immediate priority was the relocation of the Secretariat offices to the new building, which as much as it was exciting proved to be a big task,” she says. Namibian Minister of Finance, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila introduced Elago, a Namibian national, to President Hifikepunye Pohamba last week, describing her as someone with a good understanding of SACU, its dynamics and history. Prior to her appointment at SACU, Elago served as the Country Director for Trade Mark East Africa in Tanzania.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila says SACU is very important to Namibia for the role it plays in regional integration within Southern Africa, the greater Africa as well as the global arena. “This therefore translates to the importance that Namibia regards the appointment of Elago to the position of leading such a critical organisation, more so because of her being a national of Namibia,” she said.

The finance minister stressed Elago’s experience, which spans over 20 years in the areas of trade and regional integration. Pohamba said the SACU Summit of Heads of State and Government places a high regard on the work of SACU and they have high expectations. This was demonstrated by the decision to institutionalise a Summit of Heads of State and Government as an organ of SACU. Under the 2002 SACU Agreement the highest decision making body was the SACU Council of Ministers, comprising ministers of finance and trade. The decision to institutionalize the Summit then provided a forum for heads of state and government to engage and provide strategic political direction on issues affecting the organisation. During this Summit the Heads of State and Government also adopted a vision of SACU becoming “an economic community with equitable and sustainable development dedicated to the wealth of its people for a common future.” This vision reflects the desire of SACU member states to transform the organization to a deeper level of integration. Pohamba also pledged the support of government to the SACU Secretariat and made a commitment to the continued implementation of the SACU Work Programme.

Source : New Era