WINDHOEK – New Southern African Development Community (Sadc) chairperson, President John Magufuli of Tanzania, has assured the regional bloc that issues pertaining to industrialisation will be top priority during his tenure.
Magufuli became Sadc chair last Saturday, taking over from President Hage Geingob of Namibia.
In his acceptance speech at the 39th Sadc Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government in the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam, Magufuli said it was unacceptable that a region endowed with vast natural resources should remain poor.
“Our countries are not poor. We are very rich. We have all the resources needed for one to be rich. We have huge population, large number of wildlife, vast plant species, marine ecosystem, minerals and hydrocarbons,” he told the two-day summit, which has attracted leaders from the 16 member states of the regional bloc.
Highlighting why the industrial sector is important, Magufuli said the World Trade Organization Statistical Review Report of 2018 indicates that the value of the global trade in 2017 reached US$23.01 trillion, of which US$17.73 trillion were merchandise trade and US$5.28 trillion commercial services.
Of importance to note, he said, is that, of the US$17.73 trillion merchandise trade, almost US$12.41 trillion were manufactured goods.
In that same year, he said, Africa in total exported goods worth US$417 billion.
“As I mentioned earlier, Sadc exported goods worth US$143 billion. More than 60 percent of Africa’s and Sadc’s exports were raw materials, mainly agricultural products, mining and fuel,” he said, adding that this meant Africa, including the Sadc region, has not benefited much from that increase of global trade.
He said this explains why Africa’s share in the global trade is less than three percent.
Magufuli said it also explains why the terms of trade are always in favour of other regions.
For instance, Magufuli explained that in the year 2017, Africa exported goods worth US$417 billion, but its importation was US$534 billion.
“The reason is simple. We are selling goods of low value,” he said.
Therefore, he said Sadc requires, for instance, to sell not less than 20 tons of cotton, coffee or tea to buy just one tractor.
This, he said, also explains why Sadc inhabitants continue to remain poor.
“Raw materials in the world markets are sold at very low prices. In addition, due to low level of industrialization in our region, the problem of unemployment is increasing, “he said, adding that by exporting the region’s raw materials, it means that the region is also exporting jobs.
Magufuli applauds the efforts undertaken by Geingob to improve infrastructure in the region.
“Infrastructure development is an important enabler of industrialisation and market integration,” he said.
2019-08-20 07:20:05 | 9 months ago