15 Mar 2019 15:30pm
WINDHOEK, 15 MAR (NAMPA) The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is experiencing slow economic growth, which compromises macroeconomic convergence, SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax said here on Friday.
Tax was speaking at the official opening of the two-day SADC Council of Ministers meeting in Windhoek, where ministers from the 16 member states are amongst others discussing issues of regional importance and considering a number of strategic documents.
After experiencing robust economic growth prior to the global financial and economic crisis in 2008/09, economic growth in the region has slowed down, thus compromising macroeconomic convergence, Tax said.
She noted that the region also has a challenge with inclusiveness.
The structure of the economies of the region remain undiversified, with a growing resource-based and stagnant manufacturing sector, she said.
Another challenge in the region is income disparity.
Huge disparities remain in the region in terms of income, with about half of the member states having a GDP per capita below US.dollars 1 000, Tax said.
The Executive Secretary further pointed out that the regions goods market remains small.
The goods market in the region remains small. While intra-SADC trade is increasing at a slow pace, the regions total trade with the world remains small at between 15 per cent and 21 per cent, Tax added.
As a result, SADC intends to put an industrialisation plan in place to increase economic growth.
This points to the need to intensify implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Strategic and Roadmap by ensuring that all interventions in the three pillars of the Industrialisation Strategy, which aims to accelerate economic growth through technological and economic transformation and as such enhance comparative and competitive advantage of our economies, are implemented in a synergistic manner, she said.
Speaking about the regions corporate plan and budget, Tax said from April to December 2018, SADC recorded a performance of 77 per cent and utilised 76 per cent of its budget.
Allocation for industrial development, market integration and infrastructure increased from 38 per cent in 2015/16 to 48 per cent in 2018/19, which is slightly lower than the Resource Allocation Framework by 2 per cent, Tax said.
Peace and security allocations increased from 14 per cent to 17 per cent which is higher than the Resource Allocation framework by 2 per cent.
Allocation for programmes of regional dimension decreased from 48 per cent in 2015/16 to 35 per cent in 2018/19, which is in line with the SADC Resource Allocation Framework, Tax said.
The framework is a system for allocating resources to SADC member states.
The Council of Ministers oversees the functioning and development of 16 SADC Member States and ensures that policies and decisions are implemented. It consists of ministers from each of the member states; usually from the ministries responsible for foreign affairs and international relations, economic planning finance or trade and meets in March and August every year.