SADC committed to industrializing its economy- Cooperation by members is vital for promoting industrialization
A positive and inspiring trend is emerging in the integration agenda of Southern Africa according to the outgoing chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), President Seretse Khama Ian Khama at the just ended 36th SADC Summit in Mbabane, Swaziland.
The 36th SADC Summit was conducted under the theme “Resource Mobilisation for Investment in Sustainable Energy Infrastructure for an Inclusive SADC Industrialisation for the Prosperity of the Region.”
Speaking at the summit, Khama said, “The region has over the past three years shown a strong political will to promote industrialisation to ensure that member states harness the full potential of their vast and diverse resources.”
In a summit held in Zimbabwe 2014, the region agreed to focus on promoting industrialization through “Beneficiation and Value Addition.” Since 2014 three successive summits have ran under similar themes on advancing industrialization. This is the first time in the history of SADC that related themes has been adopted by each summit.
The 2015 Summit held in Botswana looked at harnessing industrialization through “Transformation of Natural Endowment and Improved Human Capital.”
This was in light of the fact that countries in SADC get very little in return from their resources that include minerals such as gold and diamonds since most of the value-addition and beneficiation is taking place outside the region.
Khama said such mind likeliness among countries was critical in boosting cooperation towards pushing the industrialization and integration agenda of SADC.“It is encouraging to note that efforts towards the region’s new process of industrialisation continues to gain momentum.” He also added that a costed action plan of the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Road map will be finalized ahead of an extraordinary summit scheduled for early 2017.
“I hope that, with its adoption by SADC Council at its next meeting in March 2017, the specific actions towards implementation of agreed interventions will accelerate industrialisation in our region, as well as prosperity and welfare of our people,” Khama added.
On the food security situation in the region, Khama said SADC should continue to work together in ensuring that cereal demand and supply are met.
According to the SADC Secretariat, the region recorded an overall cereal deficit of 9.3 million tonnes for the 2016/17 marketing year, with only one country – Zambia, recording a cereal surplus.
Khama said it is pleasing to also note that most countries are working together “In coordinating the systems and institutional requirements for an effective importation and distribution programme of food and non-food commodities.” With regard to political, defence and security cooperation, Khama said the region must maintain stability as peace is pivotal to sustainable development.