Industry is a driving force of many economies, particularly those in the developing world. The generation of goods and services has proved an effective means of achieving the goals of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), namely increased economic productivity, stronger Regional Integration, and reduced poverty for people living in the region.
The economies of SADC Member States are at different stages of development and, as a result, the state of industry varies widely throughout the region. In many Member States, agriculture plays a major role in the economy, employing almost half of the total population of the region. However, much of this agriculture is subsistence farming, rather than large-scale production of (high-value) crops for export. Meanwhile, mining employs just 5 % of the population but contributes 60 % to the foreign exchange earnings and 10 % of gross domestic product for the SADC region. Furthermore, tourism is also a rapidly growing industry that SADC recognises could have great benefit to the region, but has sector-specific requirements that differ from the traditional productive or extractive industries.
In order to expand on opportunities in these key areas, SADC has passed the Protocol on Mining and the Protocol on Tourism, which are both designed to guide investment in these industries that will have significant impact on the economic development of the region. SADC is also developing the SADC Industrial Development Policy Framework with an aim to promote the development of an integrated industrial base within SADC through the exploitation of regional synergies in value-added production and enhancement of export competitiveness.
SADC has identified several factors affecting industry and has designed plans for their improvement.