July 14, 2022

SADC Ministerial Task Force Reviews Policies and Strategies for Enhancing Growth in Regional Trade

Implementing the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063) remains a key priority, therefore, there is a need to create a conducive environment for trade to continue flourishing in the region, Honourable Mark Katsonga Phiri, Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Malawi, said.

Hon. Minister Phiri said this at the official opening during the 22nd Meeting of the Ministerial Task Force on Regional Economic Integration in Lilongwe, the Republic of Malawi, on 9th July 2022. He commended SADC Member States for their pragmatic decision to open up and resume economic and social activities while observing all necessary measures and precautions against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting was convened to consider the progress report on implementing the Industrialisation Strategy and Road Map 2015-2063, particularly the progress on the ratification of the SADC Protocol on the Industry, Private Sector engagement, Value Chains, Macro Convergence, Infrastructure Development, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and rules of origin.

Regarding the ratification of the SADC Protocol on Industry, Ministers urged the Member States that have not yet signed or ratified the Protocol on Industry to do so in order to facilitate industrial development and trade in the region.

The Ministers urged Member States to incorporate some of the recommendations of the Industrial Upgrading and Modernisation Programme and Gaps analysis study which was undertaken in 2021 by the Secretariat, including establishment of industrial intelligence units and the Industrial Observatory functions in their national industrialisation programmes. On the same note, the Ministers directed the Secretariat to continue working with the SADC Business Council in implementing the study recommendations that require the involvement of the private sector.

The Ministers underscored the important role of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs urged Member States to complete and submit the status of SMEs) at the country level to the Secretariat. In the same vein, the Ministers directed the Secretariat to fast-track the development of the Framework to enhance the contribution of Small and Medium Enterprises to Industrial Development.

The Ministers directed the Secretariat to finalise the review of the Protocol on Mining and submit progress at its next meeting and to finalise the Regional Study for Identification and Pre-Feasibility Assessment of Investment Projects for Development of Energy Storage (Batteries), Copper and Mining Inputs Regional Value Chains.

With regard to the Implementation of the SADC Regional Agricultural Investment Plan (RAIP) (2022-2030), the Ministers directed the Secretariat to develop the new phase of the SADC Regional Agriculture Investment Plan (2022 - 2030); develop commodity sector development plans for wheat, rice, soya, beans and cotton; and conduct a mapping of agriculture commodity exchanges and their contribution to agricultural commodity trade.

The Ministers urged the Member States to fully use the information generated by the Agriculture Information Management Information System (AIMS) in their decision-making process and to support the operationalisation of the AIMS by providing up-to-date data and information.