Southern Africa: SADC president proposes industrialization fund

SADC Chairman, President Felix Tshisekedi has proposed a regional fund to support industrialization in SADC member states and ensure the sustainability of its integration agenda.

Tshisekedi, who is the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), said so in his welcome message as host of the 42nd Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community. (SADC) held in August.

In the official publication of the Summit which provides an annual review of progress, President Tshisekedi said the time had come for SADC to consider establishing a dedicated fund to support its industrialization agenda.

“We encourage our organization to reflect on the need to set up an industrialization fund in order to finance industrialization projects and programs and break out of dependence on external partners,” he said. declared.

“In this way, we will be able to achieve major economic and technological transformation at the national and regional levels towards deepening regional integration as advocated by the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap.”

He said the regional fund will complement resources from other partners, including international cooperating partners and private investors, thereby enabling the region to fully take charge of its development trajectory and industrial path.

Currently, it is estimated that over 70 percent of SADC’s budget comes from international partners.

A regional fund dedicated to industrialization has the capacity to reduce this dependence on external partners.

Industrialization is a priority for SADC, and since 2014 all SADC Summit themes have focused on action to achieve the goals of an industrialized and competitive region.

The SADC theme for the year 2022/23, under the leadership of the DRC, is the promotion of industrialization through agribusiness, mineral beneficiation and regional value chains for inclusive and resilient economic growth.

“With this theme, we intend to value the many natural resources of our region and encourage local transformation in order to create decent jobs for young people and fight poverty,” said President Tshisekedi.

Endowed with vast natural resources such as fertile soils and minerals including gold, diamonds and lithium, SADC is indeed able to establish a regional fund to support its own industrial growth and create jobs for its youth.

Such funding could come from initiatives such as combating illicit financial flows (IFFs); create a regional lottery system; harness the resources of a proposed philanthropy network; as well as the introduction of regional taxes on transport and tourism.

For example, it is estimated that Africa continues to lose resources valued at $150 billion a year to IFFs or “illicit capital flight”, mainly through tax evasion and mispricing of goods and services by multinational companies.

This means that resources intended to develop Africa are used elsewhere to improve the economies of other countries in Europe, Asia and the United States.

Regarding the lottery system, it has proven to be one of the innovative funding mechanisms that has been successfully used to fund regional programs in Southeast Asia, where pooled revenues are distributed equitably. between different countries.

The outgoing SADC Chairman, President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera of Malawi, said the fate of the region was in his hands and that all member states should work together to pool their own resources to fund the development agenda. . including the implementation of the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap.

The SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap aims to accelerate the momentum towards strengthening the comparative and competitive advantages of the economies of SADC Member States.

Approved in April 2015, the strategy and roadmap are anchored on three pillars – Industrialization; Competitiveness and Regional Integration – and seeks to ensure that SADC adds value to its natural resources before exporting.

Currently, very few SADC countries process their own raw materials, with most value addition taking place elsewhere and benefiting others.

In this regard, an industrialized region will enable SADC to fully benefit from its vast natural resources and become a dominant force in world affairs.

The publication of the 42nd SADC Summit was produced by the Southern African Research and Documentation Center (SARDC) in collaboration with the SADC Secretariat.

The annual publication highlights key achievements made by SADC over the past year to advance integration in the region.

Southern African News Features offers a trusted source of regional news and analysis on the Southern African Development Community and is provided as a service to the SADC region.

This article may be reproduced with credit to the author and publisher.

SANF is produced by the Southern African Research and Documentation Center (SARDC), which has been following regional developments since 1985. Email sanf[at]sardc.net

Website and Virtual Library for Southern Africa www.sardc.net Knowledge for Development

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