SA to in­crease in­tra-re­gional trade

Sunday Express - - BUSINESS JOURNAL -

THE re­cent South­ern Africa De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) Sum­mit in Pre­to­ria, South Africa ended with a com­mit­ment by host pres­i­dent and new chair­per­son, Ja­cob Zuma, to grow trade be­tween Le­sotho and other SADC states which re­mains very low at un­der 20 per­cent.

Pres­i­dent Zuma, who took over the chair from Swazi­land’s King Mswati III, iden­ti­fied sev­eral in­ter-state pro­grammes to be im­ple­mented in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the pri­vate sec­tor as key for grow­ing in­tra-re­gional trade and eco­nomic growth.

He said South Africa had cho­sen as the theme for its ten­ure, ‘Part­ner­ing with the pri­vate sec­tor in devel­op­ing in­dus­try and re­gional value chains’.

The theme was cho­sen with the view to build­ing mo­men­tum and con­ti­nu­ity in the col­lec­tive as­pi­ra­tion of achiev­ing re­gional sus­tain­able eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion.

“Our co­op­er­a­tion as a re­gion will al­low our economies to over­come the chal­lenge of small, frag­mented economies, and cre­ate a larger mar­ket that im­proves the re­gion’s prospects of at­tract­ing in­vest­ment,” Pres­i­dent Zuma said in his ad­dress to the Sum­mit.

“The key ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing our chair­per­son­ship will be the de­vel­op­ment of a high im­pact An­nual Op­er­a­tion Plan, with tar­geted in­ter­ven­tions and pub­lic pol­icy tools to fos­ter the de­vel­op­ment of re­gional value-chains in agro-pro­cess­ing, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and min­eral ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion.”

Pres­i­dent Zuma also pledged that South Africa would iden­tify cross-bor­der projects that would strengthen re­gional value-chains and con­trib­ute to the de­vel­op­ment of the re­gion- all of which re­quired a func­tional re­gional mar­ket.

“We will need to en­sure that we find an ef­fec­tive way of pro­mot­ing a rules-based trade en­vi­ron­ment that pro­motes cer­tainty and sta­bil­ity. The im­ple­men­ta­tion of com­mit­ments un­der the Trade Pro­to­col have to be an in­te­gral part of this agenda so as to cre­ate an in­te­grated mar­ket that is con­ducive to the de­vel­op­ment of re­gional value chains.”

South Africa will also de­velop pro­grammes to ca­pac­i­tate se­nior of­fi­cials from SADC mem­ber states in in­dus­trial pol­icy mak­ing and im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Pres­i­dent Zuma also spoke of the need to ac­cel­er­ate plans to es­tab­lish a Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Fund to fa­cil­i­tate in­fras­truc­tural de­vel­op­ments in mem­ber states as these were key to in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion.

The fund will serve as start-up cap­i­tal for re­gional pro­grammes and projects in the var­i­ous sec­tors.

South Africa is also propos­ing the es­tab­lish­ment of an In­ter- State Nat­u­ral Gas Com­mit­tee to share lessons for re­gional gas de­vel­op­ment and to pre­pare for the de­vel­op­ment of the wider gas econ­omy.

In­dus­tri­al­ists have said that South­ern Africa is sit­ting on mas­sive nat­u­ral gas re­serves in ex­cess of 600 tril­lion cu­bic feet, adding these must be ex­ploited to re­duce de­pen­dence on biomass en­ergy.

“The in­clu­sion and pro­mo­tion of gas into the re­gional en­ergy mix will fa­cil­i­tate an in­crease in uni­ver­sal ac­cess to en­ergy, as well as in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment in SADC,” Pres­i­dent Zuma said, adding, this would at­tract pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ment and boost re­gional en­ergy in­fra­struc­ture and main­te­nance projects.

In ad­di­tion to push­ing for greater in­te­gra­tion through the Con­ti­nen­tal Free Trade Area, South Africa will also push for the con­clu­sion of the Trade in Ser­vices ne­go­ti­a­tions in SADC. Pri­ori­tised sec­tors in­clude con­struc­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, trans­port, fi­nance, en­ergy and tourism.

Pres­i­dent Zuma also pledged that South Africa will work closely with other SADC coun­tries and the Food and Agri­cul­tural Or­gan­i­sa­tion to de­velop strate­gies to pre­vent, mon­i­tor and deal with de­struc­tive in­va­sive species.

South Africa and other SADC states re­cently ex­pe­ri­enced trans-bound­ary pests such as the Fall Army Worm as well as the ‘bird flu’ virus.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.