On February 24-25, 2014, the Regional Economic Integration Support Programme (REIS) held a workshop for the Investment Promotion Agency Forum (IPAC) in the SADC Region. Held in Tete, Mozambique, the workshop was attended by the Chief Executives of Investment Promotion Agencies from SADC Member States.
The workshop aimed at realising objectives in the context of the development of the SADC Investment Policy Framework (SADC IPF, to cultivate peer to peer learning and experience sharing among Member States, provide an opportunity for practical learning from on-site recent investments and to create greater understanding of investor priorities and requirements in their decision process. It was also to kick-start the process of the peer to peer learning and have Member States highlight key investment policy developments they have recently undertaken as well as to update their databases.
Key Points that emerged from the workshop deliberations include the following:
• Importance of Tax harmonisation in SADC for ease of compliance, collection and management.
• Streamlining of investment procedures as it facilitates ease of doing business and removes opportunities for corruption.
• Importance to have investor tracking, including after-care measures.
• Clarity in definition of priorities in order to enable optimisation of investment flows.
• Importance of Bilateral agreements for investors in terms of creating confidence and security.
• Development of the infrastructure, including energy, which is essential for attracting investment.
• Development of alternative sources of finance for SMEs which is crucial because this forms the supply side foundation and support to larger investments.
• Efficiency in the management of the border as it is a critical component for ease of doing business,competitiveness and transparency.
• Acknowledging that Land Acts and reforms still remain an issue for investors in some Member States.
• Need for SADC Member States to ensure that they do not give away resources cheaply and without much return when considering FDI opportunities.
• Challenges faced by some IPAs on their mandates as these remain unclear.
The workshop was officially opened by Tete Provincial Governor, Mr Paulo Aude. He highlighted the extent of developments in the Province, which include mining, tourism, infrastructure development and the importance of effective use of natural resources. He also said coal was in the process of transformation into the key pillar of investment and economic growth for Mozambique.Mozambique was chosen to host the workshop in recognition of the massive investments made in the country and in particular, in Tete Province, in the Mining, Industrial and infrastructure sectors. The workshop also provided site visit opportunities for the participants, including the Vale, one of the largest mining investors in Tete and the new Zambezi Bridge.
In the regional context, Tete Province is the main road-link between Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi because of the bridge that crosses the Zambezi. A second bridge is currently being constructed to accommodate the anticipated growth in traffic volume.