17 Aug 2018 17:40pm
WINDHOEK, 17 AUG (NAMPA) South Africa created a platform for targeted engagement with the private sector and deepened its focus on key investment opportunities while it chaired the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
This was said by South Africas President, Cyril Ramaphosa in his keynote address during the 38th SADC Heads of State and Government Ordinary Summit here on Friday.
Ramaphosa said the region recorded significant achievements in the implementation of programmes across all priority areas that required urgent attention.
He added that 2017/18 marked the third year of implementation of the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan for 2015-2020.
Regional leaders had to prioritise the needs of people and find lasting and sustainable solutions to poverty, inequality and underdevelopment, Ramaphosa stated.
He added that the regional bloc secured more than US.dollars 500 million which was committed to productive investments by South African companies across the region in priority value chains which include forestry, agriculture and agro-processing, fertilisers, mining and mineral processing and pharmaceuticals.
The 2017 summit also directed the SADC Secretariat to establish a regional natural gas committee to promote inclusion of gas in the regional energy mix. A statement of intent on cooperation in the development of a regional gas market and infrastructure was signed by SADC ministers responsible for energy and water in June 2018.
Additionally, a programme to develop capacity in industrial policy-making was initiated, whilst a SADC engineering needs and numbers study will be completed to obtain an understanding of the engineering capacities in the region and to allow for better planning and implementation of infrastructure.
Ramaphosa added that progress was also made in addressing tuberculosis in the mining sector across 10 SADC countries.
More than 10 000 claimants received payment and one-stop service centres were opened in Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and eSwatini (formerly known as Swaziland), he said.
He further stated that the shared procurement of essential medicines and commodities in SADC had been identified as a priority, with the aim to establish an autonomous non-profit organisation known as the SADC Pooled Procurement Services.
The South Africa President added that the region established a healthy pipeline of bankable projects, which needed to be completed through collaboration with the private sector not only in designing SADC regional strategies and initiatives, but also by identifying impediments to greater regional economic integration.
The ability of SADC countries to establish a competitive industrial sector and promote greater industrial linkages has been hindered by the lack of infrastructure in areas such as energy, transport and communications, Ramaphosa said.
His statements also formed part of his speech as outgoing SADC chairperson.
He then handed over the reigns to President Hage Geingob.