Geingob bemoans slow pace of integration

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Tiri Masawi

Windhoek - Namibian President Hage Geingob has bemoaned the slow pace at which regional integration is moving despite member states having solid political will to push through for a closely knit SADC.

Geingob told state broadcaster, Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) last week upon returning from the swearing in ceremony of Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi that the pace at which SADC regional integration was moving was not as fast as it should and called for more efforts in pushing through the agenda.

He said there was more that needed to be accomplished in terms of driving the close relations between the 16-member bloc to be more united in trade, culture as well as politically.

SADC has an ambitious plan to come up with a unified currency although time frames have not been firmly set for this. It seeks to create a better and hustle free movement of people and goods, cement robust business links among member states as well as push for shared values and beliefs.

“I emphasise again that the dream of people like Kwame Nkumah and Julias Nyerere was to come up with a more united continent starting with the regional blocs,” he said.

Geingob commended efforts so far made by the Economic Community West African States (Ecowas) which recently announced that member states will adopt a unified currency that will make it easy to trade among themselves.

The SADC region has failed to synchronise their currency in reasonable tie because of different economic performances by some member states and also the different levels of developments in the regional bloc.

Key among Geingob’s worries is the low rate of trade between member states despite being very close as well as all supporting the idea of improved trade relations.

Most SADC member states have high trade statistics and  make better earnings from countries further afield, but have very little to show in terms of trading among themselves.

The major beneficiary of intra-SADC trade remains South Africa which supplies consumables to the bulk of the 16 member states in SADC because of a very robust industry that has a strong manufacturing base.

Analysts have in the past castigated the weakness that characterise most SADC which produce more or less the same raw materials and have very little to trade among themselves. They have to seek markets for their products elsewhere.

The Namibian President, who is the immediate past Chairperson of  SADC, wants to see the good political relations among member states being turned into booming business relationships and creating jobs for the regional citizenry.

SADC remains the one region in Africa that is commended for its peace and tranquillity despite a few hot spots like Madagascar, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Lesotho which have in the past experienced political volatility.

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