Daily Archives: August 19, 2017

SA vows to build SADC brand

President Jacob Zuma, who has taken over as the chairperson of SADC, intends to grow intra-regional trade, which remains under 20%, and build the regional brand towards diversifying and expanding value chains.

President Zuma took over the chairpersonship of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on Saturday during the 37th SADC summit, which is underway in Tshwane, South Africa.

South Africa, which took over the chair from Swaziland, will over the next year be responsible for several programmes of the regional body, which is celebrating 25 years of existence.

The SADC chairpersonship, on a one-year-term basis, rotates among the bloc’s member states.

President Zuma said South Africa’s theme for its chair tenure is ‘Partnering with the private sector in developing industry and regional value chains’. This theme seeks to build momentum and continuity in the collective aspiration towards regional sustainable economic development and industrialisation.

Our cooperation as a region will allow our economies to overcome the challenge of small, fragmented economies, and create a larger market that improves the region’s prospects of attracting investment, said President Zuma.

In his acceptance speech, the President outlined Tshwane’s strategy and key projects for the term, which he said will strategically advance and drive regional and continental industrialisation and integration.

The key activities during our chairpersonship will be the development of a high impact Annual Operation Plan, with targeted interventions and public policy tools to foster the development of regional value-chains in agro-processing, pharmaceuticals and mineral beneficiation, said President Zuma.

Tshwane will promote a member state-driven process, through the Industrial Development Forum, to identify cross-border projects that will strengthen regional value-chains and contribute to the development of the region. The achievement of this will require a functional regional market, which is key to stimulating investment.

We will need to ensure that we find an effective way of promoting a rules-based trade environment that promotes certainty and stability. The implementation of commitments under the Trade Protocol have to be an integral part of this agenda, so as to create an integrated market that is conducive to the development of regional value chains, President Zuma told the summit, which is attended by a number of Heads of State and Government, including Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and the Seychelles.

As a contribution towards capacity building, South Africa will — in addition to the initiative started by Swaziland on the establishment of the University of Transformation — introduce a new programme to develop capacity in industrial policy making and implementation for senior officials in the SADC region.

With regards to infrastructure, which has been identified as a key driver of industrialisation, South Africa has identified an important gap created by the lack of funding for bankable projects from both the public and private sectors.

We therefore need to leverage infrastructure spend to fast track the process of structural transformation in our economy, said President Zuma.

Currently, the nature of funding or loans from international cooperative partners comes with restrictive conditions. President Zuma said this needs to change so that the region can take the lead in mobilising resources to fund its projects.

This is a key element towards the region’s ambitions of having its own Regional Development Fund, he said.

The fund will serve as start-up capital for regional programmes and projects in the various sectors.

Tshwane is also proposing the establishment of an Inter-State Natural Gas Committee to share lessons for regional gas development and to prepare for the development of the wider gas economy.

Industrialists have indicated that Southern Africa is most likely sitting on massive natural gas reserves of more than 600 trillion cubic feet, which the region must exploit to reduce a heavy reliance on biomass energy.

The inclusion and promotion of gas into the regional energy mix will facilitate an increase in universal access to energy, as well as industrial development in SADC, said President Zuma.

This, he said, will attract private sector investment and help boost region-wide energy infrastructure and maintenance projects.

Food security

President Zuma said South Africa will work closely with the SADC community in developing and rolling out a strategy to prevent, monitor and deal with destructive invasive species. The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and other related organisations in SADC will be part of this process.

The region has recently experienced natural disasters and felt the impact of trans-boundary pests such as the Fall Army Worm and Tuta Absoluta.

South Africa has also committed to lead the region towards broadening integration through the establishment of the Tripartite Free Trade Area and the Continental FTA.

South Africa this month appended its signature to the agreement establishing the TFTA, thereby becoming the 19th member state out of 26 nations to do so.

South Africa will also push for the conclusion of the Trade in Services negotiations in SADC. Prioritised sectors include construction, communication, transport, finance, energy and tourism.

The outgoing SADC chair, King Mswati III of Swaziland, thanked member states for their support during his country’s tenure, saying chairing the organisation gave them a sense of pride as a nation.

Source: South African Government News Agency

SADC TROIKA MEETS IN TSHWANE DISCUSSING POLITICAL AND SECURITY SITUATION IN REGION

TSHWANE (SOUTH AFRICA), Aug 19 (NNN-SANEWS) — The Extraordinary Summit of the SADC Double Troika, which commences in Tshwane on Friday afternoon, discusses the political and security situation in the region, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said.

Countries like the DR Congo and Lesotho have been plagued by drawn-out political instability in recent years threatening peace and security of the region.

Although Lesotho has somewhat stabilised after the recent elections, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to continue to monitor that country as the SADC Facilitator. Since its independence in 1960, the DRC has not known peace, and its problems are an ongoing headache for both SADC and the African Union. The Double Troika is made up of Tanzania, Angola, Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana and South Africa.

Friday’s summit also considered the Concept Paper on the SADC Peace Fund and applications by the Union of Comoros and the Republic of Burundi for membership of SADC.

The official SADC Heads of State Summit will commence on Saturday, however so far, several meetings have taken place at the Department of International Relations relating to the summit. These include the Council of Ministers meeting, the Standing Committee of Senior Official meeting and the Finance Committee.

SADC is celebrating 25 years of existence this year and South Africa takes over the chairpersonship from Swaziland. The predecessor of the SADC, the Southern African Development Co-ordination Community (SADCC) was established in 1980 in and in 1992, regional heads of State agreed to transform the SADCC into the SADC with a special focus on regional integration.

In celebration of the birth of SADC in 1992, the current chairperson, King Mswati III of Swaziland on Wednesday delivered the SADC Day message for 2017. SADC Day is commemorated on 17th August every year.

In his message, King Mswati III expressed optimism of the SADC Regional Integration agenda and development of the region.

I am encouraged by the growing awareness and participation of our people in the implementation of the SADC Programmes and Projects. I do hope this will gradually move the region towards achieving the goals for which SADC was established which is to reduce the levels of poverty and improve the standard of living of the people in the Region, said King Mswati III.

He said the need and importance of industrialising the SADC region cannot be over-emphasised adding that this calls for fast action in ensuring that SADC macroeconomic policy environment is improved. There is also a need to remove infrastructural impediments to industrialisation and identifying key value chains for the global markets, said King Mswai III.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Welcome statement by incoming SADC Chairperson, President Jacob Zuma and host of the 37th Ordinary SADC Summit, Pretoria

Your Majesty King Mswati III, Chairperson of SADC,

Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,

Ministers and Deputy Ministers,

SADC Executive Secretary,

Members of the media,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honoured to welcome you to South Africa on the occasion of the 37th Ordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government.

We are more thrilled that we welcome you in a building is named after one of the icons of our liberation struggle and one of Africa’s greatest patriots, Oliver Reginald Tambo, fondly known to many as OR.

Moreover, on 27 October 2017 OR Tambo would have celebrated his 100th birthday.

It is in this context that the South African government has declared 2017 the year of OR Tambo.

As leader of our liberation struggle, OR Tambo tirelessly mobilised international solidarity against the unjust apartheid regime which was also a major force of destabilisation in our region.

His leadership also led to the creation of a democratic South Africa, whose Constitution is built on the values OR Tambo championed for the better part of his adult life.

It is therefore important that as we observe this year and this incredible figure in our nation’s history, that we draw inspiration from his exemplary leadership and from the vision that accorded him the accolade of an international statesman and an astute, consummate diplomat.

We further wish to acknowledge and pay tribute to our leaders that passed on recently and who fought for our collective freedom and contributed towards our region’s liberation.

We remember and salute the role of both Former President of Botswana, Sir Ketumile Masire and the Namibian liberation struggle stalwart and former Minister, Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo.

We appreciate the achievements of both these giants for their sacrifices and will continue to be inspired by their legacies.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

2017 symbolises an important year for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as it marks the Jubilee celebration of our organisation.

As such, the time is opportune for all of us as Heads of States and Government, to take stock of the progress as well as opportunities created since SADC’s inception.

As a region we have a blueprint, the Revised Regional Integration Strategic Development Programme (2015-2020) to guide our economic development and integration.

Commendable progress in implementation has been made with the development of the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan, the Industrialisation as well as Strategy and Roadmap.

This meeting of Heads of State and Government is important as it gives us an opportunity to engage on the progress and challenges in terms of implementing our SADC Integration Agenda during this past year.

We should also foster an environment for reflection on the future strategic direction of the region post-2020.

We therefore wish to welcome the process initiated during Swaziland’s Chairship, which saw SADC embarking upon a project to renew its vision.

Specifically, the March 2017 SADC Ministerial Retreat held under a policy framework �SADC WE WANT which has built on our continental Agenda 2063.

Our collective responsibility and work in ensuring that we maintain a peaceful, stable and secure region is pertinent to attaining our objectives.

The critical need for both industrial and infrastructure development in SADC cannot be overstated.

The vision of a connected and prosperous African continent in the form of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) finds expression in the work of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), where negotiations continue to aspire towards enhancing intra-regional trade and market integration.

These initiatives are geared towards creating employment, improving manufacturing, enhancing development and addressing poverty alleviation in the SADC region specifically.

As the Incoming Chair of SADC, South Africa has been working closely with the Kingdom of Swaziland and the SADC Secretariat towards ensuring a smooth transition.

I would therefore like to extend my gratitude to all involved in these processes thus far.

Finally, I wish to emphasise that South Africa remains committed towards building on our gains made thus far, as well as identifying solutions to challenges that have impeded on our progress.

It is important that we remember this point � SADC is our organisation and as such, our plans will only be driven if they are implemented at the national level.

What is needed now is to enhance our collective responsibility towards the realisation of our objectives.

I thank you!

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa