A financial system enables other elements of an economy to function. As Trade and Industry increase, an integrated system of Banks, credit institutions, and Capital Markets provides the security of savings necessary to drive new business and redirects funds into new projects that further promote economic growth.
SADC is committed to improvement of the economy in Southern Africa as a means toward greater Regional Integration and eradication of poverty for the region’s people. To support this economic growth, SADC established the Protocol on Finance and Investment in 1996, which defines its policy on development of Banking, financial regulation, and Investment. It has also developed the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan that outlines particular programmes and activities for achieving long-term economic goals.
The Protocol on Finance and Investment
The Protocol on Finance and Investment focuses on harmonising the financial and Investment policies of SADC’s Member States in an effort to build stronger Regional Integration and encourage the region’s economic development.
The objectives of the Protocol on Finance and Investment, as set out in Article 2, are:
- Creation of a favourable Investment climate within SADC, with the aim of promoting and attracting investment in the SADC region;
- Achievement and maintenance of Macroeconomic Stability and Convergence within the SADC region;
- Co-operation regarding Taxation and related matters within the SADC region;
- Co-operation and co-ordination amongst Member State parties in collaboration with Central Banks on exchange control policies;
- Establishment of principles that will facilitate the creation of a coherent and convergent status in the legal and operational frameworks of Central Banks;
- Establishment of a framework for co-operation and co-ordination among Central Banks of SADC on payment, clearing and settlement systems;
- Co-operation in the area of Information and Communications Technology amongst Central Banks;
- Co-operation on bank supervision amongst Central Banks;
- Co-operation in the activities of development finance institutions in the Region;
- Co-operation in the area of non-banking financial institutions and services;
- Facilitation of the development of Capital Markets in the Region;
- Co-operation in the area of SADC Stock Exchanges;
- Co-operation with regard to anti-money laundering issues amongst State Parties; and
- Co-operation in respect of a SADC Project Preparation and Development Fund.
Thus far, financial reforms in Southern Africa have concentrated on creating a functioning, competitive Banking sector. Through liberalising the financial sector by removing official management of interest rates and easing conditions for Banking, SADC has allowed new financial institutions to emerge and develop new products. While access to credit and capital for smaller businesses remains a concern, the above reforms have already assisted in strengthening the financial sector in many Member States.
Key Factors Affecting Finance in the SADC Region
SADC is concentrating its efforts on financial improvement in the following areas: