SADC Council of Ministers meet in South Africa

The Council of Ministers Meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is an opportunity to think and strategise together on how best and how fast to improve the lives of all our peoples. SADC has clear and common objectives towards regional economic integration and sustainable development.

This statement was made yesterday in Pretoria, South Africa by the Chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers, Mrs L. N. Sisulu, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa during her welcome address at the opening of the SADC Council of Ministers Meeting. We should therefore continuously seek to unlock our regional potential and opportunities to effectively address the core issues of unemployment, underdevelopment, and poverty alleviation and contribute fully to the upliftment of the continent, she said.

As a SADC family, we must continuously reflect on our progress. Our objectives in SADC seek to advance peace, stability and sustainable development in our region, she said. It is important that the political and security situation in the region remains stable, though there are some political and security challenges which the region must continue address, she pointed out.

The Minister recalled that Common Agenda guided the SADC to develop economic blueprints such as the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan, the Regional Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063, the Strategic Indicative Plan of the Organ and the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan.

She further underlined that in the pursuit of a common future, there is a clear need for industrial development underpinned by a sound infrastructure. The Republic of South Africa, in its capacity as SADC Chair, is working towards ensuring the practical implementation of the Industrialisation Plan as adopted by the Extra-Ordinary Summit in March 2017.

According to Mrs Sisulu, industrialisation remains a core pre-requisite for prosperity in the region and has to be achieved through a strong partnership with the private sector. It is important that SADC Members focus on the need to strengthen the region's capabilities both inside and outside of Government in order to advance regional industrialisation. SADC Governments should identify priority value chains and take steps to attract the private sector into these specific sectors, she said.

For her part, the SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax recalled that the main objective of this Council of Ministers meeting is to receive progress on the implementation of the 2017/18 Plan, and to consider the proposed Plan and Budget for 2018/19.

She reported that tremendous progress has been made in a number of areas in our quest to regional integration. In line with the 37th SADC Summit theme of Partnering with the private sector in developing industry and regional value-chains, value chains in areas that were profiled in 2016/17, namely mining, pharmaceuticals and agro-processing sectors, were identified.

The priority value chains identified in the following sub-sectors include: leather, soya, aquaculture, iron and steel, copper, cement and ARV manufacturing. In the coming financial year, detailed mapping and feasibility studies on each of these identified value chains will be undertaken, based on which bankable projects will be developed.

The Executive Secretary said that during the year, drafts of the SADC Regional Mining Vision, and Protocol on Industry were prepared and consultations were held with relevant stakeholders. The Regional Mining Vision will optimise the benefits from the minerals extraction through extended mineral beneficiation, and the development of strong economic linkages between the mining sector and other economic sectors, especially manufacturing. The Protocol on Industry will provide for a supportive policy environment for the implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy across sectors.

Source: Government of Mauritius