16 Jun 2019 20:40pm
WINDHOEK, 14 JUN (NAMPA) Member states need to put in place measures for early detection of impending disasters to enable preparedness and reduce impacts, Southern African Development Community (SADC) Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax has said.
During the closing of the SADC meeting of the committee of ministers of trade in Windhoek on Friday, Tax indicated that five SADC countries have already declared a state of emergency because of environmental degradation that contributes to climate change and variability.
These are Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.
Tax further highlighted that industrialisation remains their prime focus because the region seeks to fast-track sustainable industrial development.
This will be achieved through increasing the share of manufacturing value addition in GDP to 20 per cent by 2020, and manufacturing value added in GDP to 20 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2050.
SADC has one year to complete the 2015-2020 Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan, which aims for the member states to agree to integrate their markets by paying attention to all industrialisation strategy pillars including industrialisation, regional integration and competitiveness.
Speaking about the expectations of the final discussion, committee chairperson Tjekero Tweya called for the consolidation of the SADC Free Trade Area.
Particularly, the outstanding issues such as the accession by Angola and DRC to the SADC Free Trade Area; Rules of Origin for Wheat Flour; the proposal for the review of Annex VII on sugar and how we can consolidate our negotiation position with other regional economic blocs, said Tweya, who is also Namibias Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development.
The SADC Rules of Origin are the criteria used to distinguish between goods that are produced within the member states that are entitled to preferential tariff treatment and those that are produced outside the region.
In addition, Tweya said they are set to consider issues related to the implementation of the regional infrastructure projects to support regional integration agenda, as well as to assess the implementation of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan and provide guidance on the next regional plan.
The plan aims to establish a free trade area agreement on common external tariffs and a common external trade policy.
The meeting started last Friday.