SADC industrial development protocol ready for endorsement at upcoming summit
By Kizito Sikuka in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre.
A legal instrument to improve the policy environment for industrial development and support implementation will be presented for approval to the 39th SADC Summit that meets on 17 and 18 August in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The acting Director for Industrial Development and Trade at the SADC Secretariat, Calicious Tutalife told journalists ahead of the Heads of State and Government Summit that the instrument – the SADC Protocol on Industry – was cleared by regional ministers responsible for Justice/Attorneys-General in July, and is thus ready for endorsement by the leaders.
“We are looking forward to the protocol being signed during the 39th SADC Summit,” Tutalife said, adding that the draft protocol was validated by the Ministerial Task Force on Regional Economic Integration in June.
The process of approval of a regional legal instrument in SADC requires, first, signing, and then ratification, a process that differs from country to country. A protocol “enters into force” following ratification by two-thirds of the SADC Member States. This advances the regional law from being a stated intention to actual application. Those member states that join after a protocol has entered into force are said to “accede” to the protocol.
It is envisaged that the protocol will be ratified by the required minimum number of SADC Member States by 2020 to facilitate the implementation and advancement of the industrialization agenda in southern Africa. Once ratified, the SADC Protocol on Industry will become a stand-alone and binding legal instrument that will entrench and give legal effect to the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap and its related Cost Action Plan and will ensure adequate coordination, monitoring and evaluation of implementation.
The SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap, adopted in April 2015 in Harare, Zimbabwe, envisaged major economic and technological transformation at national and regional levels to accelerate economic growth through industrial development. This was in realization that most SADC Member States continue to be among the poorest in the world despite abundant natural resources as the majority of them export these in raw or unprocessed form.
A Cost Action Plan for the strategy covering 2015 to 2030 was approved in March 2017 in Eswatini, and details the key actions, with reference to its three pillars and the requisite activities as well as the key enablers to unlock the region’s industrial potential.
The SADC Protocol on Industry is expected to strengthen the level of industrial development in the region and facilitate the harmonisation of policies and strategies in member states. Where member states already have such policies and strategies, these will be reviewed and aligned to the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap. Industrialization is a top priority for southern Africa and since 2014 all SADC summits have focused on how the region can attain industrial development.
Furthermore, the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) recognises the importance of industrial development in the diversification and deeper integration of regional economies.
As per the theme of the 39th SADC Summit, member states will between August 2019 and August 2020 focus on creating a conducive environment to allow the private sector to actively participate in and fully benefit from measures to advance the industrialization agenda.
Southern African News Features are produced by the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre which has monitored regional developments since 1985. Website and Virtual Library for Southern Africa at www.sardc.net. The centre is based in Harare, Zimbabwe.