Summit reaffirms the importance of SACU in deepening regional economic integration
The 5th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), held last week in Swaziland reaffirmed the importance of SACU as an organisation in deepening regional economic integration, industrialisation and economic diversification of SACU economies as a common goal.
The purpose of the summit was for the Heads to consider the Report of the Council, on the progress made on the implementation of the Roadmap to reinvigorate the SACU Work Programme that was endorsed by the Heads of State and Government, on 12 November 2015 in Windhoek.
The summit which was chaired by King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland, and was attended by, Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, Vice President of Botswana and Hon.Carl Schlettwein, Minister of Finance noted and endorsed the Work Programme, based on the outcomes of the 3rd Ministerial Retreat, which outlines detailed activities, key deliverables and the timelines within which the proposed activities will be undertaken.
The endorsed Work Programme is set to focus on the review and development of a suitable architecture for tariff-setting, rebates, duty drawbacks and trade remedies; a review of the Revenue Sharing Formula and the long-term management of the Common Revenue Pool; the establishment of a Stabilisation Fund and exploring the feasibility of a financing mechanism for regional industrialisation; and identifying financing options for regional projects; and Adopted SACU5/S/DC and the development of public policy interventions to promote and align industrial development and value chains.
At the event, delegates commended the Council of Ministers for establishing two Ministerial Task Teams on Trade and Industry, and on Finance, including the approval of their Terms of Reference, to facilitate the urgent implementation of the Work Programme.
“SACU economies experience similar economic challenges, which can be better dealt in an integrated manner within the region. In this regard, the Summit directed the Ministerial Task Teams to prioritize industrial development and develop concrete cross-border projects to promote industrialization to ensure that the region is able to optimise economic benefits to withstand global economic shocks,” they emphasised.
Meanwhile, Botswana will be the Chair of SACU, effective 15 July 2017 to 14 July 2018, taking over from Swaziland.