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President’s dream edges to reality

Dr Mike Bimha
In terms of governance, a directorate will be established within the Sadc Secretariat to facilitate and coordinate implementation of Sadc industrialisation programmes.

In 2016, Sadc Heads of State and Government resolved to convene an Extraordinary Summit that would solely discuss implementation of the region’s Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap.

And so that Summit was held in Swaziland last week.

Before the Summit, a Sadc ministerial taskforce on regional integration had considered an implementation matrix, coming up with key recommendations.

The taskforce and senior officials had also examined a report from the Sadc Secretariat regarding the Draft Costed Action Plan for the Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap.

This plan is more of a budget with a list of activities, while milestones were drawn up to monitor implementation of the industrialisation strategy.

The governance implementation structure was also considered at ministerial level and then escalated to Summit alongside the proposed milestones and costed action plan.

Summit resolved that the costed action plan should be phased, with Phase 1 covering the first 15 years.

The plan, estimated at US$103 million, is accompanied by a matrix with the following pillars: Industrialisation, competitiveness and regional integration. It also has cross-cutting issues that include institutional development, monitoring and evaluation.

Further, the action plan template details key action, organised with reference to the three said pillars; requisite activities and key enablers required to unlock industrial potential.

US$103 million is, basically, for regional co-ordination costs for implementing the action plan over the next 15 years.

It has nothing to do with expenses members states could incur.

The national indicative public co-ordination costs will be determined by member states since the costed action plan has been approved.

Once it has been approved, member states will then work on what they need to do individually. The issue now is about raising this money, and ministers of finance will meet shortly to consider how best they can mobilise resources.

A number of consultants who presented at Summit indicated it was possible for member states to mobilise resources without necessarily having to go to the fiscus.

Many mobilisation methods were also suggested. In terms of governance, a directorate will be established within the Sadc Secretariat to facilitate and coordinate implementation of Sadc industrialisation programmes.

That is the importance Heads of State have accorded industrialisation. There will also be what is called the Industrial Development Forum, which will be for the private sector.

Private sector representatives of member states will engage senior officials, forming a joint forum that will attend Sadc meetings.

This was done to give private sector views due recognition. The current ministerial taskforce will remain in place to oversee industrialisation and integration.

In a nutshell, these were the major Summit outcomes.

On our part, we want to begin with an awareness programme to enlighten various stakeholders on where we are and where we are going.

We also want to organise ourselves at national level by putting proper structures in place, and strengthening value chains while planning resource mobilisation.

The action plan’s adoption is a pleasant development as industrialisation was pushed through when Zimbabwe held the Sadc Chairmanship.

It was President Mugabe who almost single-handedly got other Heads of State and Government to appreciate the position.

When our officials met in Victoria Falls in 2014, there was an impasse over industrialisation, and that impasse was only broken when President Mugabe intervened.

He got all Sadc Heads of State and Government to appreciate the importance of industrialisation.

The story was that since our countries are at different levels of industrialisation, a good number of them, especially the less-industrialised, gravitated towards the receiving end.

But this strategy helps all of us industrialise; it’s a win-win.

Dr Mike Bimha is the Minister of Industry and Commerce. He shared these views with The Sunday Mail’s Senior Reporter Lincoln Towindo in Ezulwini, Swaziland last week

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