The Ministers of Finance and Investment and Peer Review Panel of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) met virtually on 15June 2020, where they discussed progress made in the implementation of financial mechanisms critical for the prosperity of the region.
In his opening remarks, Honourable Mussa Azzan Zungu, Minister of State Union and Environment of the United Republic of Tanzania, representing the Chairperson of the SADC Committee of Ministers of Finance and Investment, highlighted that attracting investment in the SADC region remains the region’s common aspiration. He underscored the need for the region to create a conducive business and investment climate through, amongst others, harmonization of regional investment frameworks and policies including Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT) model will generate unprecedented benefits to Member States.
On her part, the SADC Executive Secretary Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax commended SADC Member States for the progress made in the implementation of the SADC Protocol on Finance and Investment which aims to foster harmonization of the financial and investment policies in the region.
H.E. Dr Tax cited the harmonisation of payments and clearing systems through the SADC Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS) as one of the key milestones made in transforming payments and clearing systems in the region. On this note, the Executive Secretary called for speedy on-boarding of all regional currencies to the SADC-RTGS multi-currency platform which has already facilitated the settlement of 1.7 million transactions, translating into R6.87 trillion since July 2013 when it was launched.
During the meeting, the Ministers noted the progress on the implementation of the SADC Regional Development Fund, a facility through which Member States will mobilize development resources as a group. To ensure the full implementation of the Fund, the meeting urged Member States that have not yet signed and ratified the Agreement on the Operationalisation of the SADC Regional Development Fund to do so expeditiously.
The meeting considered progress on the development of the Regional Transmission Infrastructure Financing Facility (RTIFF) which is aimed at enabling SADC Member States maximize the benefits from the regional electricity trade. In order to expedite the finalization of the enabling measures for RTIFF viability, the Ministers directed the Secretariat to continue engagement with the International Cooperating Partners and the regional organisations in the energy sector in mobilizing concessional funding.
On the Project Preparation and Development Facility (PPDF), Ministers encouraged Member States to enhance the Facility which aims to assist SADC to address the implementation of the SADC Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan (RIDMP) recognizing that infrastructure is the bedrock of economic development and the deepening of regional integration. The meeting commended the Federal Government of Germany and KfW for supporting the SADC PPDF.
The meeting of SADC Ministers of Finance and Investment and Peer Review Panel takes place annually to consider reports from the Peer Review Panel, and review the progress made in the implementation of financial mechanisms.