20 Aug 2015 15:30pm
WINDHOEK, 20 AUG (NAMPA) Namibia is among the fastest growing economies in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as the region continues to enjoy steady gross domestic product (GDP) growth.
Angola was the fastest growing economy in the region in the last 12 months, with a GDP growth of 10,3 per cent, SADC Executive Secretary Stergomena Tax revealed during the official opening of the 35th SADC Heads of State and Government in Gaborone, Botswana on Monday.
The summit ended on Tuesday.
Tax said SADC as a whole attained a real GDP growth of 3,4 per cent, with a single digit inflation of 6,3 per cent during the 2014/2015 period.
The other fast growing economies in the past 12 months are Mozambique (7,3 per cent); Democratic Republic of Congo (6,6 per cent); Tanzania (6,6 per cent); Botswana (5,3 per cent) and Namibia (5,3 per cent).
Some of the fastest growing economies in the developing world are in the SADC with real GDP growth of five to seven per cent, Tax boasted.
She said the region continues to enjoy a sustained stable and peaceful political environment, which is a catalyst for regional economic integration and development.
It was gratifying to see the SADC region continue recording a stable political environment, which is important for development, said Tax.
To accelerate regional integration, she said the region focused on finalising the review of its long-term development strategy - the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP).
She explained that the revised RISDP, which prioritises industrialisation, will guide the region until 2020 when it is expected to come up with a new long-term development strategy aligned to the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063.
If the strategy and roadmap for the industrialisation of SADC is implemented effectively, it will help the region find opportunities to transform the economies to ensure growth and sustained development.
As directed by the heads of state at last years annual summit, industrialisation will take centre stage in the SADC regional integration agenda.
The SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap was approved by the extra-ordinary summit held in April 2015, in Harare, Zimbabwe.
I am confident that the strategy and roadmap, if implemented effectively, will unlock opportunities within and beyond our borders, leading to socio-economic transformation of SADC economies, she said.
The executive secretary explained that the decision to prioritise industrialisation in the regional integration agenda was in view of the insignificant growth of intra-regional trade despite progress made in the tariff phase-down through the SADC Free Trade Area.
She further said the economic blocks enlarged market through the launch of the Common Market for East and Southern Africa-East African Community-SADC (COMESA-EAC-SADC) Free Trade Area (FTA) is expected to change the economic landscape through trade. The SADC-EAC-SADC TFTA, which was launched in Egypt in June, will create an integrated market of 26 countries with a combined population of 625 million people. This covers half of the AU member states, with a combined GDP of about US$1.3 trillion (approximately N.dollars 16.85 trillion).
The TFTA is expected to promote the smooth movement of goods, services and investments across borders.
Tax also explained that the strategy recognises the importance of peace and security as crucial to socio-economic development.
The objective of the strategy and roadmap is also amongst others to raise the production level of member states and increase trade amongst the countries.