By Sharon Kavhu
Windhoek - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states should remain committed in implementing the Industrialisation Strategy pillars for the region to increase market value of all final goods and services by 2020, said SADC Secretariat Executive Director, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax.
Tax said the region aims to attain accelerated and sustainable industrial development by increasing the share of manufacturing value addition in GDP to 20 percent by 2020 and manufacturing value added (MVA) in GDP to 20 percent by 2020 and 40 percent by 2050.
“We remain with one year to 2020, and we have a lot to do to catch up. For this to be realised, the region has to remain focused and committed to the implementation of the SADC Industrialisation agenda by paying attention to all Industrialisation Strategy pillars namely; industrialisation, regional integration, competitiveness, and the cross cutting pillar, which outline a number of complementary interventions that are supposed to be implemented coherently,” said Tax during the official opening of a meeting of SADC Ministers responsible for Trade and Industrialisation in Windhoek last week. The SADC Industrialisation Strategy pillars were adopted by the member states during the 2015 extra ordinary summit of the Heads of State and Government in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. It was established after the member states reaffirmed the importance of industrial development in poverty alleviation and the economic emancipation of the people of the region.
The strategy is also aligned to the continental vision, Agenda 2063, a global strategy aimed at optimising the use of Africa’s resources for the benefit of all Africans.
According to the regional bloc, industrialisation can be fully implemented where the member states are in a position to add value on their own products.
Tax noted the progress that have been made by member states in identifying and developing value chains adding that there was a need to scale up efforts and implement the value chains speedily.
“It should, however, be appreciated that value chains can only be effectively implemented and realised if the supporting infrastructure, enabling legal environment, and necessary skills are in place, and barriers to trade and policy bottlenecks are addressed. All these are embedded in the four pillars of SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063,” said Tax.
She noted with great concern the slow pace at which the Free Trade Area concept was progressing and urged member states to quicken the negotiations in order for the region to reap the benefits.
“With regards to market integration, progress continues to be made towards implementation and consolidation of the SADC Free Trade Area, and the continental Free Trade Area. Nonetheless, concern remains on the slow pace in the finalisation of exchange of offers, and the ratification of COMESA-EAC-SADC Free Trade Area, especially in light of the progress being made under the Africa Continental Free Tree Area. It is my appeal to member states to finalise tariff negotiations and ratification processes for the Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement (TFTA) for the region to reap the benefits of the continental free trade area.”
Information from the SADC Secretariat shows that in 2017, GDP per capita stood at US$2, 095, which was a significant nominal increase of 14.2 percent compared to the US$1,835 in 2016.