Industrialization should take centre-stage in SADC’s regional integration agenda

WINDHOEK: Industrialization should take centre-stage in the Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s regional integration agenda, the 34th SADC summit has directed.

This summit was held at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe on 17 and 18 August under the theme SADC Strategy for Economic Transformation: Leveraging the Region’s Diverse Resources for Sustainable Economic and Social Development through Value-Addition and Beneficiation.

A communique issued after the summit today mandated the Ministerial Task Force on Regional Economic Integration to develop a strategy and roadmap for industrialisation in the region.

It noted progress in the review of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), and directed for the finalisation and preparation of an Implementation Plan in order to provide guidance towards the implementation of SADC programs.

The summit also received a report from the Committee of Ministers of Justice/Attorneys-General relating to progress on negotiating a new protocol on the SADC Tribunal, and adopted the new Protocol on the SADC Tribunal.

The summit further received a report from the Ministerial Task Force on Regional Economic Integration, outlining amongst others statutes in tariff phase downs and intra-SADC trade, including a progress report on the ongoing tripartite free-trade area negotiations, and directed the expeditious completion of the Tripartite FTA negotiations in order to pave the way for the continental FTA process.

It also reviewed regional food and nutrition security, and pointed out increases in food production during the 2013-2014 growing season.