What is SIBE?
The SIBE Programme (Support to Improving the Investment and the Business Environment in the SADC Region) is a European Union (EU) funded initiative aimed at improving the business and investment climate in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
SADC and the EU are working together to improve the investment and business environment in the 16-member Southern Africa regional bloc. SIBE therefore seeks to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth to support job creation by transforming SADC into a vibrant investment hub.
What actions are supported under SIBE?
SIBE aims at promoting intra-regional investment and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the SADC region, especially for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
SADC’s quest is to create a favourable investment climate to expand and diversify the region’s economies, create new labour skills, develop infrastructure, and enhance Member States participation in regional and global value chains.
The regional block seeks to support Member States to meet their growth challenge by placing transparent and accountable institutions, market access and competition, inclusiveness, and economic integration at the centre of its strategy for attracting sustainable private sector investment.
What are the result areas of SIBE?
SIBE will focus on three technical areas
SIBE is expected to result in an enabling investment environment across SADC Member States, with less barriers and more business-friendly reforms, harmonised financial markets in the SADC region; and enhanced financial inclusion and improved access to finance for SMEs.
SIBE endeavours to promote access to finance, with special attention to ensure financial inclusion for entrepreneurs. The Programme’s achievements so far include the consolidation and strengthening of the SADC Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS) for cross-border payments, development of a transparent and open investment regime for both domestic and foreign investors, and facilitating access to finance and strengthening market institutions.
How is SIBE financed?
SIBE is financed under the [grant] of €14 million provided by the EU for the period 2019 to 2024. SIBE is part of the comprehensive EU support to SADC, amounting to more than €70 million, to promote and facilitate regional integration in the region. The Programme continues the actions already initiated with previous EU programmes such as the Regional Economic Integration Support (REIS) Programme, which phased out in December 2018.
How will SIBE operate?
SIBE targets the improvement of the investment regulatory framework and the business climate, improving policy certainty, predictability, and transparency. It will promote access to finance, with special attention to ensure financial inclusion for entrepreneurs.
Among other measures, SIBE will consolidate and further strengthen the RTGS system, formerly known as SADC Integrated Regional Electronic Settlement System (SIRESS), for cross-border payment that has been supported under the EU-funded Programme REIS, to enable a more efficient cross-border payment. Boosting private investment to encourage job creation requires improving the business climate through the development of measures such as creating a transparent and open investment regime for both domestic and foreign investors, facilitating access to finance, and strengthening market institutions.
When will SIBE become operational?
SIBE is already operational. The Programme was launched on 6 August 2019. Since January 2021, SIBE is being implemented by the SADC Support Consortium, led by FinMark Trust. The SADC Support Consortium consists of FinMark Trust, GFA Consulting Group GmbH and Southern Africa Trust.