PUBLISHED ON March 17th, 2015

Regional economic integration gathers pace

Gaborone — The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Vincent Seretse recently attended the meetings of the SADC task force on regional economic integration and the SADC Council of Ministers respectively.

A press release from the ministry stated that the former meeting, fed into the latter, which considered inter alia the following: Council considered the update in relation to the progress made towards the launching of the Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) negotiations in July 2015 by the African Union heads of state and government.

To that end, the release said the council had urged SADC member states to prepare for the launch with the view to frontloading industrialisation so that it can take the centre stage alongside market integration.

“Council appreciated the progress on the ongoing negotiations for the Tripartite Free Trade Agreement (TFTA) between SADC, the East African Community (EAC), and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA),” reads the release.

It said the council had instructed the SADC policy organs to meet in advance of the launch of the TFTA by heads of state and government in June 2015 in Egypt, and to the extent possible, harmonise SADC positions leading thereto.

Furthermore, it says the council has also endorsed the SADC candidate for the presidency of the African Development Bank, Mr Thomas Sakala, and urged member states to give him material and/or other support in his campaign for the position and also considered and recommended to summit, for approval, the resolution on the establishment of the SADC administrative tribunal.

Furthermore, as per the release, the council considered and appreciated the progress made in the review of the regional indicative strategic development plan and the development of the SADC regional industrialisation strategy and roadmap, together with the parallel initiatives development at both the tripartite and continental levels.

Additionally, the council also noted the progress made by the ministerial task force on regional economic integration.

That, the release says, came in the form of the interim report which provides inter alia the strategic objectives for achieving major socio-economic and technological transformation at both national and regional levels, and accelerating economic growth and enhancing the comparative and competitive advantage of economies in the region.

All in all, it says the above are in line with the economic priority objectives of the Republic of Botswana and dovetail with our endeavours to grow the economy through industrialisation (manufacturing and value-addition) which are espoused in the revised Industrial Development Policy of 2014, the Economic Diversification Drive, and the draft National Entrepreneurship Policy and thus look to the challenges ahead with optimism.

Source: All Africa

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