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    10 Feb, 2022

    SADC embarks on policy dialogues to ease trade and movement of goods and services across the Region

    The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is convening policy dialogues to ease trade, transportation and movement of goods and services across the Region to facilitate regional integration. 

    Regional integration helps SADC countries overcome divisions that impede the flow of goods, services, capital, people and ideas. These divisions between countries created by geography, poor infrastructure and inefficient policies are an impediment to economic growth. 

    The policy dialogues are among the activities under the SADC Dialogue Facility (SDF) which is a programme funded by the European Union to the tune of €3 million as part the cooperation and support to SADC regional integration agenda.

    The SDF is expected to aid regional integration goals so that the citizens of the SADC Region will benefit from stronger, equitable and sustainable economic growth, increased collective leverage in global platforms and enhanced social opportunities. 

    Through regional integration, SADC seeks to achieve economic development, peace and security, growth, alleviate poverty, enhance the standard and quality of life of its peoples, and support the socially disadvantaged. 

    The economic benefits expected from regional integration include improved intra-regional trade and investment flows, and increased transfer of technology and experience. The SADC regional economy is forecasted to grow by 2 percent in 2021 and 3.2 percent in 2022, thereby creating more jobs, eliminating poverty, and creating better living conditions for the citizens.  

    Trade flows within the SADC Region and with the outside world are increasing along the North-South Corridor, but more work is being done through programmes such as the SDF to increase intra-regional trade and investment flows.  Increased trade within SADC and with the outside world results in the transfer of technology and experiences from the developed world, for the benefit of its citizens.

    Studies have shown that SADC countries need to increase trade among themselves and improve their manufacturing industries, among other factors. Numerous SADC countries have adopted a variety of policy measures aimed at supporting investors and their economies in general. 

    The SDF will support the SADC Region to strengthen compliance and implementation of existing strategies and policy frameworks through enhanced multi-stakeholder dialogue and benefitting from peer exchanges and hands-on technical expertise.  SADC’s blueprint, the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030, places importance on the development of good infrastructure that will spur economic activity across the Region.

    The RISDP 2020-2030’s Pillar II on Infrastructure Development in support of Regional Integration aims to promote an interconnected, integrated, and quality seamless infrastructure and networks, including cross-border infrastructure, which will be pivotal in facilitating the movement of people, goods, services, and knowledge. 

    The recent entry into force of the SADC Protocol on Trade in Services will further aid the quest for improved intra-regional trade. The Protocol aims to encourage increased intra-regional trade in services through the gradual removal of unnecessary or overburdensome regulations affecting the cross-border supply of services within the SADC Region. Barriers to trade in services are found in the way that nations regulate services, for example, through a country's banking or transport laws, where measures may be found that limit the ability of foreign services suppliers to trade freely across borders, or which discriminate against foreign service suppliers within the market place and distort competition in favour of domestic suppliers.

    Such issues are therefore being tackled under SDF dialogues, leading to tangible actions to strengthen capacities for implementation, further policy development and enhanced coordination with different stakeholders in the key areas of regional integration as identified by the SADC strategic frameworks and the RISDP 2020-2030. 

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