SADC hosts first-ever investment roundtable
Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa and Eswatini recently convened its first-ever Investment Roundtable to discuss how SACU can be positioned as an industrial and manufacturing hub through the development of regional value chains.
The roundtable which took place in Gaborone, Botswana from 12 to 13 April showcased 36 specific bankable projects or investment and export opportunities by the Investment Promotion Agencies in the SACU Member States, in the following priority sectors: Agro-Processing (Leather and leather products, fruits and vegetables and meat and meat products); Textiles and Clothing; Cosmetics and Essential Oils, as well as Pharmaceuticals.
Possible solutions to finance industrialisation were explored, including infrastructure that supports trade as well as export promotion. Challenges identified include access to funding for entrepreneurs, packaging of investment projects, harmonisation of regional payments systems and mobilising resources from capital markets.
To meet these challenges, possible instruments to mobilise financing for industrialisation that was considered, include pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, debt swaps and remittances from the diaspora. In addition, the options for SACU to leverage funds from existing Project Preparation Facility sources and establish a Regional Financing Mechanism were considered.
The roundtable further underscored the need for seamless cross-border trade through harmonising regulations to ease trade among the SACU member states. The high transport costs in the region and the delays in the clearance of cargo were highlighted as some of the key challenges impacting cross-border trade.
Consequently, the role of transport corridors in the region as important economic development corridors was amplified as one of the means to enhance the competitiveness of the trading environment in SACU through closer collaboration and partnerships.
Mokgweetsi Masisi, President Botswana and Chairperson of the SACU Summit of Heads of State or Government delivered the keynote address at the roundtable.