Wednesday, 04 September 2019 09:19

SADC SUMMIT 2019 AGREES ON MEASURES TO ENCOURAGE REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

The 39th Southern African Development Community (SADC) ended with leaders endorsing measures to take the region to another level of development.

These measures include resource mobilization to accelerate industrialization and infrastructure development, as well as stepping up action against trade barriers, red tape and corruption.

“The focus remains on accelerating growth to improve livelihoods of millions of people,” said President John Magufuli, the new SADC chair.

Sadc member countries also signed a new protocol on industrialization that seeks to attract more investments through innovation and new technologies.

In his closing session Speech of the two day summit,“Sadc incoming chair President John Magufuli said ,industrialization boosts trade and remains key in Sadc development agenda ’’

Dr Magufuli implored fellow leaders in the 16-nation bloc to take action against barriers to cross-border trade bureaucracy because they hamper trade inflows and investments.

Sadc statistics indicate exports to the outside world in 2017 amounted to $143 billion ,far below the $403 billion and $213 billion which Mexico and Vietnam exported during the same period, respectively.

The annual economic growth of the Sadc region which covers one third of the African continent’s land surface and with a population of 327 million ,has not been any better and in the year 2018 the ,the bloc recorded an average GDP growth of 3.1 per cent ,which is below the African Continental average of 3.5 per cent and also lower than other regional blocs.

During the Summit ,three other protocols aimed at tackling cross-border crime between Sadc countries which are meant for inter-state transfer of sentenced offenders, amendment of a protocol on extradition of suspects and legal assistance in crime matters.

The summit also agreed to establish a disaster risk reduction body to identify , assess and reduce the risk of disasters in the region.

President Magufuli who assumed the Chairmanship of the bloc said, the fight against corruption within Sadc was among a raft of measures agreed upon in order to stimulate trade and investments in region as well.

He also announced that in resource mobilisation ,member countries have pledged to contribute $31 million towards supporting this year’s expenditure budget of the Sadc Secretariat.

For the 2019/2020 financial year , the secretariat of the regional body based in the capital of Botswana , Gaborone had budgeted to spend a total of $74 million for its activities.

As by his norm the new Sadc chair was firm on his resolve to ensure tht funds budgeted for the organization were meant to implement projects that would improve the livelihoods of the people within the region and even tasked the secretariat to venture into tangible projects like building of clinics within the bloc.

President Magufuli also challenged the Sadc member states to remit their annual budget contributions to the organization as agreed, noting that delay or failure to remit money would paralyse integration efforts.