Martin Kadzere Senior Business Reporter
THE SADC member states have completed an interim report outlining the regional industrialisation strategy expected to prioritise value addition and beneficiation.The interim report, prepared by experts, was presented to the SADC Ministerial Taskforce on Regional Economic Integration which is holding a series of meetings in Harare to reflect on progress and give guidance to expedite the development of regional industrial strategy.
This is in preparation for the Extra ordinary Summit to be held in April to discuss the matter.
In August last year, SADC Summit mandated the Ministerial Taskforce on Regional Economic Integration to come up with a strategy and roadmap for industrialisation.
This was after a realisation that industrialisation strategy cannot be over emphasised given the challenges facing the region.
President Mugabe, who took over as SADC chairman last year told journalist at the end of the summit that it was critical for the region to prioritise value addition and beneficiation ahead of market liberalisation.
He said collective industrialisation would help the region to derive higher value from its resources.
“Some of the elements that members states have been highlighting as key for regional industrialisation is development and participation in regional value chains,” Industry and Commerce Permanent Secretary Abigail Shonhiwa said yesterday.
“It is therefore important that national processes should take place so that member states will be able to take advantage and benefit from industrialisation strategy.”
Mrs Shonhiwa said the taskforce agreed that the strategy should put forward concrete proposals on how to “frontload” industrialisation and properly sequence targets outputs on industrialisation development against those on markets integration.
Earlier, Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha told delegates that trade among SADC member states had grown much slower as compared with that of other parties.
“This could be a reflection of the fact that most member states lack capacity to beneficiate and value add their raw materials,” he said.
“Therefore, we are forced to import finished products from outside the region. During our tenure of office as chairperson of SADC, and in line with the theme of the 34th SADC Summit, it is our intention to work with fellow member states and put in place mechanisms meant to leverage on the abundant diverse human, mineral and agriculture resource in the region.”
The theme for last year’s summit was “Sadc Strategy for Economic Transformation: Leveraging the Region’s Diverse Resources for Sustainable Economic and Social Development”.
The proposed regional industrialisation strategy, which places emphasis on value addition and beneficiation also dovetails into the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio Economic Transformation’s “value addition and beneficiation cluster”.