The Secretariat of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in conjunction with the European Union signed has signed three Development Cooperation Programmes amounting to a total of €47 Million for a period of five years under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).
The signing ceremony took place during the closing ceremony of the 39th Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC) in Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania on 19 August, 2019.
The three Programmes that will be implemented by the SADC Secretariat, are: Support to Improving the Investment and Business Environment (SIBE); Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) and Support to Industrialisation and Productive Sectors (SIPS).
The SIBE Programme aims at achieving sustainable and inclusive growth and support job creation through the transformation of the region into a SADC investment zone, promoting intra-regional investment and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), with a focus on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The Trade Facilitation Programme will contribute to enhancing inclusive economic development in the SADC region through deepening regional economic integration. Finally, the SIPS programme aims to contribute to the SADC industrialisation agenda, improving the performance and growth of selected regional value chains and related services within the agro-processing and pharmaceutical sectors.
“The signing of the three agreements reflects the enduring partnership between SADC and EU towards enhancing the SADC regional integration and socio-economic development, particularly at the time when SADC has committed to place the industrialisation at the centre of regional integration,” noted the SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax.
Dr Tax added: “The three programmes are interconnected and interdependent, and collectively contribute to the 39th SADC Theme: A Conducive Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, Intra-Regional Trade and Job Creation, by placing emphasis on the development of regional value chains, facilitation of intra-regional trade and the creation of a conducive environment for sustainable investment and business in the SADC region”
Jan Sadek, Ambassador of the EU to SADC, remarked that “the EU believes that trade facilitation, the promotion of a competitive and diversified industrial development, investment promotion and an improved business environment are the foundation for inclusive and sustainable development”. As pointed out by the EU Ambassador: “These three new EU-SADC programmes are a reflexion of the EU strategy towards Africa, as expressed in the EU-Africa Alliance for sustainable development and jobs: we need to promote trade, to support conducive business environment, and to facilitate investment and industrialisation in order to contribute to economic growth and decent jobs creation.
The SADC-EU regional cooperation dates back to the 1980s. Since the 2000s, the overall EU contribution to SADC regional integration has been more than €415 Million, covering inter alia peace and security, infrastructure, trade, business environment and agriculture.