Regional integration, security and macroeconomic stability formed the main issues discussed when South African leaders gathered in Maputo, Mozambique in late June.
By Kester Kenn Klomegah
They were in the country for an extraordinary summit of heads of state and governments hosted by the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
This event was primarily called to confirm progress in the implementation of the 40th Theme, which was previously approved by the SADC Summit in August 2020.
The first SADC Business Forum was prominently featured as part of a comprehensive agenda, and other important issues discussed included regional integration, cooperation and development.
A topic of special interest is regional security and its potential impact on the business and investment environment, with a particular focus on Mozambique and a broader view of southern Africa as a whole. ..
Under the chair of the SADC and the extraordinary summit, the President of the Republic of Mozambique, Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, agreed to form a standby military force in the region after months of negotiations with 15 Southern African leaders. Did.
The source of funding for the unit consists of contingencies and contributions from the member states participating in the unit, which must be contributed between them for $ 7 million (€ 5.8 million).
In his speech, Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi said that while multiple barriers still remain, such as high tariffs, customs rules, and pitfalls regarding crossing borders with stocks, hindering regional economic integration, I reaffirmed my commitment to turn it into an example. Geographical strategic location and existing energy potential.
Mozambique leaders called for accelerated ratification of the Protocol, which is essential for economic integration, in public-private dialogue and business forums.
The establishment of a customs union, which develops into a single market and currency union, remains a major challenge. It delays the process of ratifying the Protocol on Regional Trade. The imbalances that characterize each state, such as major differences in macroeconomic stability, uneven levels of industrialization, lack of complementarity between structures and production bases, and value chain inefficiencies.
Comparing all of Africa’s regional economies, SADC looks unique, but urgently reforms for a better business environment and macroeconomic stability, essential for attracting foreign investment to the region. It is important to proceed. In this way, the SADC Business Forum was held with the aim of bringing together initiatives and projects, aligning synergies and creating opportunities.
Agostinho Vuma, chairman of the Union of Mozambique Economic Associations (CTA), has long acknowledged that tariff and non-tariff barriers are obstacles to economic integration in southern Africa. According to Agostinho Vuma, there are many obstacles to regional integration, such as the prevalence of tariff and non-tariff barriers.
On the other hand, low capacity and exorbitant interest rates by banks undermine economic development and regional integration.
There is a real need for some reforms that will help South Africa’s private sector strengthen, promote the rapid integration of the regional economy in future free trade areas, and attract foreign investors to the strategic sector of the region. It has been. He explained that he would take his turn on the podium.
The SADC Business Forum also discussed the socio-economic impact of COVID-19, post-pandemic recovery strategies, infrastructure, and regional corridor development. A thorough discussion was held on industrialization, the role of the energy and mineral resources sector, and the participation of domestic businesses in megaprojects, with a focus on improving the trade balance within the region.
Domestication of SADC industrialization strategy focused on improving trade balance. The session, moderated by UNIDO Program Director Ciyong Zou, brought together a number of participants to review the process of integration and dissemination of strategies by the private sector.
Infrastructure: Development of SADC Regional Corridor. Participants here reviewed the regional transport corridors that support the trade and regional integration agenda, further focusing on the interventions needed to form the structure and attract investment. The establishment of the SADC Regional Development Fund in 2015 aims to mobilize funds for major infrastructure and industrialization projects.
Industrialization remains SADC’s leading economic integration agenda since April 2015, when the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063 was approved. Vision 2050 also envisions three interrelated pillars: industrial development and market integration. Infrastructure development to support regional integration. Development of social and human capital.
To make entrepreneurship an asset of the collective structure of the region, the discussion panel will bring existing regional dynamics and good practices while influencing initiatives for the development of the ecosystem and entrepreneurship globally. Share, reflect and promote.
Value chain of energy, mineral resources and local content. Agribusiness: Promote and link regional reference value chains. Entrepreneurship in SADC: Ecosystem and Development; Socio-Economic Impact and Recovery Strategy of COVID-19 in the Region. Participants examined the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and what needs to be done as a recovery path for the strategic regional sector.
Zimbabwe introduced trade and investment opportunities through ZimTrade. According to the Zimbabwe Chronicle, it was related to the purpose of foreign policy, especially the realization of the development and integration agenda.
With 350 million consumers, the SADC region is leveraging its existing potential to promote trade and investment in the region, in Africa and outside the world.
It is difficult to obtain statistics for various economic fields. Nevertheless, the SADC Secretariat told the research writer in an email that the total export value of SACD in 2018 was $ 154 billion and the total import value was $ 149 billion.
The SADC consists of 16 states: Mozambique, Angola, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Eswattini, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, Tanzania, Zambia and Comoros.
Within that framework, Brock aims to collectively promote sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development, build deeper cooperation and integration, ensure good governance and lasting peace and security. I will. Southern region, Africa and the world.