WINDHOEK – President Hage Geingob has revealed that the establishment of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) free trade area has led to an increase in intra-regional trade to above 22 percent from 16 percent of the regional gross domestic product (GDP).
The Sadc free trade area was launched in August 2008, which now covers 12 of Sadc’s 16 member states.
The figures were announced by President Geingob, who is also Sadc chairperson, on Monday when he addressed the 12th Extraordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Assembly and at the inaugural Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the African Union and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in Niger on behalf of Sadc member states.
He highlighted key achievements on Sadc industrial development and market integration.
He said the Sadc Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063), and its Action Plan (2015-2030), which aim to facilitate technological and economic transformation of Sadc economies, were adopted and their implementation is on course.
Other achievements he mentioned include the Sadc financial inclusion strategy and small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) access to finance, which has paved the way for the development of financial inclusion in Sadc member states.
Another success he singled out is the framework for centralisation of the bond markets in the Sadc region to remove existing barriers to capital market growth in the region and allow listing and trading of government stocks or bonds on stock exchanges.
The Sadc model double taxation avoidance agreement that assists member states in the negotiation of tax avoidance agreements, which are critical for investment and businesses, is another achievement he mentioned.
Further, another accomplishment is the Sadc cross-border Real Time Gross Settlement System (SADCRTGS) that has improved efficiency and reduced transaction costs.
Geingob revealed the system has performed impressively with 81 banks participating, and over 1.2 million transactions were settled by end of 2018, representing N$5.21 trillion worth of Sadc intra-regional trade. Geingob also touched on progress made under infrastructure development in support of regional integration. These include the development and implementation of the Sadc Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan to improve the region’s transport infrastructure for surface, air and intermodal transport to deepen integration and boost intra-regional trade within Southern Africa. This, he said, has also facilitated a corridor development approach towards seamless transport services and the establishment of one-stop-border. He noted that the establishment of the Southern African Power Pool Coordination Centre (SAPP CC) was also an achievement which aims to provide a platform for power utilities within the region to share electricity loads and manage surpluses and deficits. To date, 16 power utility companies from 13 Sadc member states are SAPP members.
Equally, he said, investments in renewable and non-renewable energy forms in the electricity sector have enhanced the capacity for surplus electricity generation registered since 2017 after a decade of power deficits which began in 2007.
He noted the Standby Force was established in 2007, and development of the Sadc Regional Logistics Depot (RLD) remains on course.
The RLD seeks to put in place a logistics capability to provide mission start-up equipment for the three components of the Standby Force, namely military, police and civilian components.
He further revealed that Sadc has already allocated US$10 million (approximately N$141 million) for the construction of the RLD and has been working with the African Union Commission in mobilising resources to bridge the resource gap of US$35 million (about N$493.5 million).
He encouraged the African Union Commission to finalise the ongoing discussion with Sadc on this noble cause.
2019-07-10 09:14:48 12 days ago