SADC SUMMIT 2019: Sadc leaders sign protocol on industry development

Dar es Salaam. The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Heads of State and Government yesterday signed a protocol on industry.

The instrument is aimed at bolstering the sector and eventually intra-trade, which currently stands at below 20 per cent.

“This will enable the Sadc region to achieve inclusive industrial development,” noted President John Magufuli, who is the new chairman of the 16-nation bloc, in his closing remarks of the summit.

To ensure Industrialisation Strategy and Road Map 2015/2063 is implemented, Dr Magufuli said, they have directed the Sadc secretariat to fast-track the removal of the non-tariff barriers (NTBs) that impede businesses among member states.

He said the secretariat was directed to speed up the removal of NTBs at borders, red tape in decision making and corruption, among others.

“We have directed the secretariat to present a report during the next summit,” said Dr Magufuli.

The chairman also revealed that heads of state and government have agreed to ensure their countries invest adequately in developing infrastructure and improve financial and economic policies.

“Last year, the economy grew at 3.1 per cent against the targeted seven per cent (by 2020), suggesting that we need to double our efforts,” he noted.

To address the challenge of funding for development projects, the summit endorsed the Regional Resource Mobilisation Framework.

Under the framework, member states will have the option on the best ways they can contribute to the regional bloc.

President Magufuli also commended development partners for their support in various projects.

He said the Sadc total budget for the current financial year stood at $74 million (about Sh170.2 billion).

Of the sum, he said, development partners committed to issue $31 million.

The development partners, according to Dr Magufuli, include the European Union (EU), World Bank, Germany, China, Sweden, African Development Bank (AfDB) and Global Fund.

“The money should be used for the intended purposes and especially in implementing development projects instead of spending it on workshops, seminars and meetings,” directed the Sadc chair.

In another development, Sadc and EU yesterday signed an agreement to the tune of €47 million (about Sh119.8 billion), with a view to improving business environments.

The five-year pact was signed between Sadc’s executive secretary Stergomena Tax and EU ambassador to Botswana Jan Sadek.

The three signed agreements are: improving the investment and business environment; trade facilitation; and supporting industrialisation and productive sectors.

This aimed at achieving sustainable and inclusive growth, according to Sadc secretariat head of communication Barbara Lopi.