Namibia officially assumed the chairpersonship on the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Council of Ministers here on Monday.
The council consists of designated ministers responsible for foreign and external affairs and oversees the functioning and development of SADC and the implementation of policies and programmes on matters of overall policy.
Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said it was critical for the council to thoroughly analyse the operations of the organisation in the implementation of previous summit decisions.
It is a hard reality that we cannot industrialise the region or Africa unless we invest in infrastructure development, she said.
Nandi-Ndaitwah added that knowledge was needed in order to ensure sustainable industrialisation and development, thus investing in the youth through education, skills training and motivating them to be innovative and entrepreneurs was needed.
Creating the regions own pool of knowledge also required its effective participation in the global industrial value chain.
In order to achieve regional industrialisation and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there is a need to apply the concept of financial burden sharing for developmental synergy.
This, she said, would be realised through partnership with public and private sectors for common developmental goals.
Outgoing chairperson of the council and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation in South Africa, Lindiwe Sisulu said in terms of SADC industrial development initiatives, the region has to prioritise trade facilitation bottlenecks such as inadequate infrastructure, customs procedures and weak logistics systems which raise trade costs.
Transport costs and transit delays in Southern Africa are reported to be particularly higher than in other regions, and have a potential to reverse the gains in regional industrial development, she said.
Sisulu added that the region has to maintain its focus on industrial development, promotion of regional value chains and value addition.
Our goals can only be met if we focus on strong and meaningful partnerships with the private sector, which is part of the engine for sustainable economic growth, she said.
The region, Sisulu continued has also recognised that trade liberalisation could meaningfully contribute to sustainable and equitable development whilst meeting goals for poverty alleviation.
Production should not only be in terms of quantities, but also quality, based on effective and efficient systems, while being mindful of the comparative advantages of member states, she advised.
The 38th Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the SADC and preceding meetings are taking place in Windhoek from 09 to 18 August.
- Title: Namibia assumes SADC Council of Ministers chairpersonship
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- Date: 5:27 PM