The SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax met with the Chief Executive Officer of NEPAD Business Foundation (NBF) Mr. Peter Varndell on 3rd June 2019, at SADC Secretariat Headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana. The NEPAD Business Foundation (NBF) acts as an interim Secretariat of the SADC Business Council. The objective of the meeting was to among others take stock of progress made towards the launch of the SADC Business Council planned for August 2019, on the margins of the SADC Summit. The SADC Business Council is expected to be an umbrella body for the private sector, to be composed of national apex bodies of the private sectors of each of the 16 SADC Member States.
Mr. Varndell updated the SADC Executive Secretary on the progress made in the formulation of the SADC Business Council, which is in response to the decision of the SADC Council of Ministers of August 2017, which directed the Secretariat to establish a private sector engagement mechanism to enable the involvement of the private sector in the implementation of the SADC regional integration agenda and the Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063). The two parties also discussed the status of preparations for the SADC Industrialisation Week, an annual event that convenes public and private sector, International Cooperating Partners (ICPs), Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and policy makers in the region, with a view to forge wider understanding, of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2020, and facilitate its implementation. The SADC Industrialisation Week is scheduled to take place from 5th to 8th August 2019, in Dar es Salaam, the United Republic of Tanzania, and is jointly organised by the Government of the Republic of Tanzania, the SADC Business Council interim Secretariat (NBF), and the SADC Secretariat.
The SADC Executive Secretary, H.E. Dr. Tax welcomed Mr. Varndell to the Secretariat, and thanked the SADC Business Council interim Secretariat (NBF) for the update and expressed the SADC Secretariat’s commitment to work with NBF towards the launch and operationalization of the SADC Business Council. To facilitate further process and effective collaboration, Dr. Tax called upon the NBF to finalize the constitution for the SADC Business Council, which is a key document that will facilitate the legal and administrative processes leading to the signing of the Memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the SADC Business Council and the SADC Secretariat. She further explained that Industrialisation remains a focus area for SADC, as evidenced by the creation of a dedicated Directorate to drive the industrialization agenda.
The Executive Secretary was among others joined in the meeting by Ambassador Joseph Nourrice, Deputy Executive Secretary-Corporate Affairs, Mr. Mubita Luwabelwa, Director of Policy Planning and Resources Mobilisation, and Mr. Calicious Tutalife, Acting Director, Industrial Development and Trade, while the NBF Chief Executive Officer, was accompanied by Mr. Norman Moleele, Executive Director of Business Botswana, and Mr. Kudzanayi Bangure, NBF Infrastructure Programme Manager.