The Southern African Development Community (SADC) region should put in place policies and regulations that provide a conducive environment to support industrialisation and regional integration, Malawi’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife, Dr Michael Usi, has said.
Speaking at the Support to Industrialisation and Productive Sectors (SIPS) engagement that was part of the SADC Industrialisation Week, Dr Usi said policy and regulations harmonisation was crucial in providing guidance in the actual operations of development programmes in the region.
He said the region needs to build capacity to address emerging challenges. The minister said SIPS had come at the right time as it aims to contribute to the SADC industrialisation and regional integration. He urged all stakeholders to ensure that their policies on the ground are conducive for the programme to achieve its objectives.
Dr Usi said that the SIPS ambitious but attainable objectives could be achieved if member states consolidate their resources and efforts.
“This programme should make us realise our potential as a Region and it rests with each one of us to take part and contribute. What will you contribute towards this noble challenge? We need to talk and this is our time and this is our mandate,” he said.
Dr Usi noted with delight that SIPS was focusing on the leather, anti-retroviral, and COVID-19 related medical and pharmaceutical products value chains.
He said that Malawi has benefited from SIPS funding through two companies, Ethanol Company (EthCo) and Intelligent Monitoring Systems (iMoSyS). He emphasised that the programme had been tailor-made to address key concerns of the private sector which hindered industrialisation in the region.
Dr Usi commended SIPS for successfully strengthening dialogues between the private and public sectors, giving room to a sustainable market driven by approach to regional value chain development. He indicated that the programme will address challenges such as market failure, coordination and linkage failures between the national and regional levels as well as between the public and the private sector.
Senior Programme Officer (Value Chains), at the SADC Secretariat, Mr Calicious Tutalife, said SIPS had come to enhance policy, regulatory and business environment on national and regional levels for development and sustainable operation of value chains for selected products.
He said the programme was suitable for the operationalisation of the Regional Indicative Strategy Development Plan (RISDP 2020-2030). One of the RISDP priority pillars is to enhance SADC regional integration agenda through enhanced industrialisation.
“In this regard SADC aims at improving its value chains, including those related to manufacturing of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals,” Mr Tutalife said.
Head of European Union (EU) Delegation to Malawi, Ambassador Rune Skinnebach, said the EU, in conjunction with SADC member states, had decided to take a comprehensive action to tackle the destructive impact of COVID-19. He said it was in line with that objective that two companies in Malawi were funded to scale up production of sanitisers and affordable face shields for healthcare workers and SMEs in critical sectors.
Ambassador Skinnebach said the involvement with private sector is not only in production of medicines and medical products, but also includes the prevention and preparedness against health threats, the provision of health care services, training for the heath workforce and the provision of infrastructure and support services.
SIPS is a Joint Action funded by the EU and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. SIPS was established to improve the performance and growth of selected regional value chains and related services within the agro-processing and pharmaceutical sectors.
Currently, seven SADC member states have benefited from programme. – SADC