Sunday, March 19, 2017

Southern African Development Community Nears Industrialization
Lincoln Towindo
recently Ezulwini, Swaziland
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

SADC leaders yesterday adopted the monetised Action Plan for the Implementation of the Sadc Industrialisation Strategy, bringing closer to fruition President Mugabe’s vision of an industrialised and integrated region.The plan was adopted yesterday at a Sadc Extraordinary Summit in Swaziland where President Mugabe joined other regional leaders for the meeting.

President Mugabe arrived back home last night and was received at the Harare International Airport by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko and other senior Government officials,

The day-long summit was held in fulfilment of a decision made last year by the regional leaders to make the special summit on industrialisation and regional integration an annual event on the SADC calendar.

Minister of Industry and Commerce Mike Bimha told The Sunday Mail last night that the adoption of the plan moved the region a step closer to industrialisation.

He said: “Just to take you back to 2015 when there was a special summit here in Harare when the Heads of State and Government approved the industrialisation strategy and roadmap for Sadc.

“And at last year’s Sadc summit in Swaziland, Secretariat was tasked to look into implementation of that strategy and roadmap and also look into the costed action plan; in simple words, it means coming up with a budget.

“For the first 15 years the action plan looks at a budget of about US$112 million; now that is more on the focus on activities that have to be done at regional level.”

The strategy is built on three pillars – industrialisation and market integration; Infrastructure development; peace and security.

The Summit considered a report by the Ministerial Taskforce on Regional Integration.

The report, an outcome of a Ministerial Retreat seeks to assess the implementation of the Sadc integration agenda, and reflect on how Sadc is realising its objectives.

Also on the table during the retreat was the evaluation of developments around efforts to attain the vision of Sadc since its founding as well as the challenges encountered while scrutinising prospects for the future.

In his remarks marking the opening of the summit, SADC chair, King Mswathi III of Swaziland appealed to fellow leaders to adopt the action plan.

“This Extraordinary Summit is being held to consider the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Sadc Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063),” he said. The regions’ citizens are looking forward to us to create the necessary environment opportunities, and the improvement in their general standard of living.”

“Their Excellencies will recall that in our last meeting in August 2016, we directed the Ministerial Taskforce on Regional Economic Integration to finalise the work on the Industrialisation Action Plan.

“We are pleased to note that Ministers have worked diligently and have come up with the work contained in the document before us today (yesterday).

King Mswathi III said founding of the Sadc University of transformation remained on course and summit will be appraised on the progress during August’s ordinary session.

The proposed university, which was initially tabled during last year’s ordinary session, seeks to feed into the industrialisation agenda by becoming a hub for industrial development in the region.

King Mswathi III also said despite the region declaring a regional humanitarian appeal of US$2.9 billion for humanitarian assistance in the wake of last summer season’s drought only US$979 million had been raised.

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