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    The Southern African Development Community (SADC) promotes Regional Integration as a means for the development of Southern Africa. Regional Integration involves cooperation among Member States, but SADC also recognises the important contribution of the Private Sector in the region. As SADC Member States liberalise their economies, the private sector will grow in importance for the economy and for society as a whole. Working together, SADC and the private sector have identified several areas in which private sector involvement can benefit the region.

    Trade and Investment

    The Private Sector has driven regional trade and investment over the past decade through emphasis on Liberalisation and International Cooperation. Foreign Direct Investment, as well as private investment in regional capital markets, has spurred industrial and infrastructural development throughout the region, providing a strong boost to the economy and society. Furthermore, the private sector’s ability to monitor trade and investment has provided SADC with information on legislative and technical barriers to trade and investment. This assistance has led to the creation of a SADC-wide Free Trade Area, as an initial step toward deeper economic integration of the region. Read more on Trade in the SADC region.

    Infrastructure and Transportation

    Developing Infrastructure is a primary target for SADC, as it enables other economic sectors to perform and grow, as well as improves the mobility of people in the region, especially for those in impoverished rural areas. While plans for improvements to rural infrastructure already exist, SADC has turned to the private sector for assistance in their funding and implementation. Through public-private partnerships, SADC Member States are able to gain funding and technical capacity for these planned infrastructure projects while generating employment for people and economic gains for the region as a whole. Read more on Infrastructure.

    Agriculture and Food Security

    Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for many people in Southern Africa, either as a commercial venture or as subsistence farming. The Private Sector is directly able to contribute to the agricultural sector through partnerships with small-scale subsistence farmers, offering them training and technical assistance to increase their productivity and providing them with funding for expansion and distribution. Likewise, the Private Sector is uniquely positioned to identify Barriers to Trade and to make recommendations to SADC on how to improve regulations that foster growth in the agricultural sector. Read more on Agriculture and Food Security.

    Tourism

    Tourism is a key growth industry for Southern Africa and important for economic growth and employment. Through such policies as the Protocol on Tourism, SADC attracted private sector investment the industry provides increasing employment in the region. The private sector has identified areas that inhibit tourism, such as lack of infrastructure and complex visa regulations, and offered suggestions to SADC for addressing these issues in pursuit of improving the industry. Read more on Tourism.

    Employment

    Unemployment is widespread through the SADC region. In establishing new businesses, the Private Sector creates opportunities for employment, both directly and indirectly. These jobs provide training that builds the employable skills of people in the region, increasing regional technical capacity. Furthermore, the private sector is able to identify legislation that inhibits employment and entrepreneurship and to make recommendations to SADC that will enhance the region’s ability to create jobs and employ its population. Read more on Employment and Labour.

    The Role of Women

    SADC believes increased gender parity can boost the Southern African economy and combat poverty. Toward this end, the private sector is capable of offering employment, technical training, and mentorship to women that enables them to raise their status in society. SADC 15 year plan included having women constitute 20% of decision-making positions at large private firms by 2005, increasing to 30% by 2010 and 40% by 2015. Furthermore, SADC also supports the Private Sector by investing in women entrepreneurs, intending to increase the amount of credit available to women entrepreneurs. Read more on Gender.

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