As part of the implementation of the Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063, the SADC Secretariat says it is working towards increasing intra-SADC regional and international trade to help in expanding Gross Domestic Products, creating more employment opportunities and ultimately, reducing poverty in the Member States.
The SADC Secretariat’s Acting Director of Industrial Development and Trade, Dr Lomkhosi Mkhonta -Gama and Acting Director of Finance, Investment and Customs, Mr Sadwick Mtonakutha said on Friday, 11 August 2017 during the joint media briefing which took place at OR Tambo Building, Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO).
Dr Mkhonta-Gama noted that intra-SADC trade is low at 15-17%, saying as one way of increasing trade within the region, the SADC Secretariat is facilitating the development of regional value chains, in which Member States will trade on products or services that are at various stages of the value chain.
On the international markets, Dr Mkhonta-Gama cited the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in June 2016 between the European Union and six SADC Member States namely; Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa, as an important milestone towards opening up European market for exports originating from SADC Member States.
Dr Mkhonta-Gama emphasized the need for quality products and services that meet international standards so that they can be competitive on the global market.
On his part, Mr Mtonakutha said in order to increase trade both at regional and international levels, the Secretariat mandate entails enhancing SADC competitiveness in industrial and other productive activities for effective participation in the global economy.
He said one of focus areas of the Secretariat is to ensure market integration of the SADC region through the establishment of the SADC free trade area, the SADC Customs Union and the SADC Common Market.
The two Directorates of Industrial Development and Trade and of Finance, Investment and Customs collectively aim to facilitate competitive and diversified industrial development; trade and financial liberalization and also increase investment for deeper regional integration; and poverty eradication in the region.