The third Annual SADC Industrialisation Week and side exhibition opened on Monday, 30 July 2018 at the Safari Court Hotel and Conference Centre in Windhoek, Namibia under the theme; Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development of the Republic of Namibia, Honourable Tjekero Tweya said the Annual SADC Industrialisation Week offers a unique opportunity for regional public-private engagement aimed at fostering new opportunities for intra-regional trade and investment in the SADC region.
Honurable Tweya said no-one should be left behind in the process of SADC industrialisation and economic growth. On this note, the Minister informed delegates that that the theme of the third SADC Industrialisation Week which is also the theme for the 38th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government seeks to draw the attention of policy makers, development partners, private sector and other stakeholders to put in place programmes and policies that are favourable for the youth to enable them to actively contribute to the SADC Industrial growth and sustainable development.
On the side exhibition, the Honourable Minister said it was pleasing to note that the 3rd SADC Industrialisation Week has attracted a number of Small and Medium–sized Enterprises (SMEs) to exhibit their products and services, recognising that that SMEs play a critical role in the socio-economic development and economic diversification of national and regional economies.
In his remarks, the Director of Industrial Development and Trade at the SADC Secretariat, Mr Tapiwa Samanga, said the SADC region can no longer remain passive in the quest for industrialisation, noting that lack of industrialisation is one of the reasons why intra-SADC and intra-Africa trade figures remain low.
Director Samanga said the 3rd SADC Industrialisation Week and Exhibition forum creates a relevant regional platform for building partnerships for growth of cross-border businesses and also facilitating advocacy on the need to improve business environment for a competitive manufacturing sector.
He underscored the importance of comprehensive programmes targeting the development of integrated industries and improving their competitiveness to meet the growing demand in regional and international markets.
He said SADC recognises that SADC long-term growth and development and the quest for deeper and pursuit of wider integration within and outside Africa, will not be realized without concerted efforts to enhance the competitiveness of priority value chains such as Soya and Leather, where SADC has comparative advantage, and to systematically promote structural transformation of the SADC economies.
The opening ceremony of the 2018 SADC Industrialisation Week was graced by, among others, the European Union Ambassador to Namibia, H.E. Jana Hybaskova, the German Ambassador to Namibia H.E. Christian-Matthias Schlaga and Head of Regional Office of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Khaled El Mekwad who called for enhanced regional integration that enables intra-regional trade and, ultimately, shared prosperity for all the SADC Member States.
The third SADC Industrialisation Week being held from 30th July-1st August 2018, precedes the 38th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government, where the Republic of Namibia will take up Chairpersonship of SADC. The event has attracted over 100 exhibitors from Namibia and other SADC Member States.