Industrialisation will raise the living standards of the people of the SADC region.
This is according to the acting director of Industrial Development and Trade at the South African Development Community (SADC), Dr Lomkhosi Mkhonta-Gama, speaking during Africa Industrialisation Week that started in Johannesburg.
The Industrialisation Week is being held under the theme Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains. Delegates representing the public and private sectors are engaging on the implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Plan.
“With industrialisation, we will raise the living standards of the people of the region, we will structurally transform the region and catapult our member states to be at par with other industrialising and developed countries,” says Mkhonta-Gama.
She adds that the first Industrialisation Week, which took place in Swaziland, produced the Esibayeni Declaration. The Declaration emphasised the fact that policy certainty including stability, predictability, consistency and transparency was key for attracting investment for regional industrialisation, regardless of sector or scale.
It also stressed that enabling trade through the removal of non-tariff barriers, coordinated border management and a solid regional transit system was a prerequisite for industrialisation in all sectors.
“Essentially, the Declaration calls for specific actions on how to develop infrastructure required to catalyse industrialisation, and to develop corridors in addressing issues relating to trade facilitation, non-tariff barriers and movement of skills and innovation. The Declaration also identifies sector specific proposals dealing with the pharmaceutical sector, agro-processing, mineral beneficiation and development of regional value chains. It also calls for the involvement of the private sector in the development of key regional plans and policy documents,” says Mkhonta-Gama.
She reiterated that the Industrialisation Strategy was anchored on three pillars: industrialisation; competitiveness; and regional integration and geography.
“This means that as a region bound by and committed to complying with the regional legal instruments that define the region,” Mkhonta-Gama says. “We will in union and unison put in place the necessary skills and technologies to competitively enhance the productive capacity of the region. In the process we will be creating employment and self-sufficiency in quality goods and services to the extent of having accessible excesses for our trading partners.
“For this to be successful, we need to engage the regional approach to the exchange of goods and services. We need to realise that as individual Member States, we do not have to individually produce finished products and accept that even trade in intermediates is trade indeed.”