The SADC Group of Ambassadors in Brussels, Belgium celebrated the SADC Day by among others convening a successful Business Forum on 23rd September 2015. The SADC Secretariat participated in the event by presenting business and investments opportunities embedded in the SADC Industrialization Strategy 2015-2063, and in the SADC Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan. SADC Team was led by the SADC Executive Secretary who was accompanied by the Director of Trade Industries Finance and Investments; and the Director of Infrastructure and Services. Invited guests included Ambassador Koen Vervaeke, Director of Southern Africa, Eastern Africa and the Horn of Africa; H.E. Dr. Patrick I. Gomes, Secretary-General of the ACP Group; Representative of the European Investment Bank, Mr. Diederick Zambon; Representatives of Business Associations and Financial Institutions, and Representatives of the Diplomatic Corp.
The Forum provided an opportunity to exchange information and views between SADC, the private sector, and potential investors and financiers with a view to mobilizing investments and financing for SADC projects, and forging win-win partnerships between European and SADC businesses. The Forum is expected to boost investments into the SADC region, whilst branding the region as an investment destination of choice. During the Forum SADC communicated policies and strategies that have created a conducive and enabling environment for investment in SADC Member States. The Executive Secretary informed the Forum that SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap is envisaged to bring about technological and socio-economic transformation in the region, through beneficiation, value chains, skills development, infrastructure development, science and technology, and in doing so, enhance economic growth, and create business and investment opportunities and the much needed jobs that will create wealth and contribute to poverty eradication. For this to succeed, collected efforts by the Public and Private sector are of crucial importance. Practitioners from the Private were called upon to take an active leading role to bring about industrialization, and take advantage of the conducive business environment which the region has to offer, and opportunities offered by expanded and integrated market offered by SADC Free Trade Area with 15 countries, and combined GDP and population of US$686 billion and 294 million people respectively; as well an integrated market offered by the COMESA-EAC-SADC Free Trade Area with 26 countries, combined GDP and population of US$1.3 trillion and 625 million people respectively.