February 28, 2024

SADC Secretariat supporting SMEs in the SADC EPA region to export to the European Union (EU) market

The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Secretariat through the EPA Unit has embarked on a series of national capacity-building and awareness-raising workshops for the  SADC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) States on market requirements for exporting to the EU market The SADC EPA states covered include Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Eswatini. The first workshop was held from 11 - 13 December 2023 in Maputo, Mozambique. Participants from both private and public sectors were taken through simulation exercises on export requirements for EU market. The private sector was represented by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Commodity Exchange and the Confederation of Economic Associations

Other workshopon EU market requirements for Gaborone-Botswana, Maseru-Lesotho, Windhoek-Namibia and Mbabane-Eswatini are ongoing. These workshops are targeted to the private sector within the SADC EPA region that are exporting or have the potential to export to the EU market. The aim is to support them in understanding the requirements of the EU-SADC EPA. 

This initiative is a follow-up to the work that the Secretariat has done, where booklets on EU market requirements for five  (5) sectors of export potential to the EU were produced. The sectors include dried spices, essential oils, herbal teas, vegetable oils, dried fruits and nuts. 

In her opening remarks, Chief Technical Advisor in the SADC Secretariat, Ms Hildah Moleofe highlighted that studies have shown that most SADC EPA States’ producers, mainly Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) with potential to export, don't have access to information on leveraging the EU market as provided by the EU-SADC EPA. This has resulted in the SADC EPA States remaining net importers of goods from the EU. It becomes imperative for all SADC EPA States stakeholders to fully understand, and apply the EU market requirements to reap the benefits and leverage opportunities associated with the EU SADC EPA regime effectively.

These capacity building workshops are organised through the SADC Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) which is supported by the EU under the 11tEuropean Development Fund (EDF). The Programme is implemented over a five-year period (2019-2024) with a budget of €15m (US$16.45m).

The objective of TFP is to support the implementation of SADC Protocols on Trade and Trade in Services (and their Annexes) to enhance inclusive economic development in the SADC Region through deepening regional economic integration. This objective corresponds to the general objective of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030 and the various Protocols that constitute the basis of SADC's regional integration Agenda. The programme will increase intra-regional trade flows by supporting trade facilitation and implementation of the EU-SADC EPA.