The seventh meeting of the SADC Trade Related Facility (TRF) Programme Steering Committee held in Gaborone, Botswana on 23rd May 2017 considered and approved Euro 1.4 million each for Madagascar and Seychelles to improve their participation in regional and international trade. In attendance were members representing TRF beneficiary Member States namely; Lesotho, Mauritius and Mozambique. Other members who participated in the meeting were non-state actors, observers from the European Delegation to Botswana, SADC Secretariat and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
Under the approved funding, Madagascar will work to strengthen border agency capacity by developing and implementing guidelines for border agency coordination; and improving the One-Stop-Shop for exporters through technical assistance towards its efficient operation and capacity building.
The country will also develop and implement a national trade promotion strategy; stakeholder capacity development; market research to identify tourism opportunities in the SADC region, especially targeting South Africa; and undertaking a number of trade promotion activities.
Among other things, Seychelles will apply part of the funds to build its capacity in the application of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) system and improve its functionality for valuation, risk assessment and cargo tracking and automation of the Excise Tax system, especially for domestic producers of excisable products.
The funds will also cover Seychelles’ development of a national legal framework and capacity building for trade remedies, particularly investigations related to anti-dumping.
So far, five Member States namely; Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Swaziland and Zambia have already signed Financing Agreements with the SADC Secretariat, formalizing the contracts for release of funds for project implementation under the TRF programme.
Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe are currently reviewing their Financing Agreements under the Facility and are all expected to have their contracts finalized by the end of June 2017.
The SADC Trade Related Facility is a mechanism for financial and technical support given to SADC Member States to assist them to implement commitments made under the SADC Protocol on Trade and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and the SADC EPA Group. The overall objective of the Trade Related Facility is to improve the participation of SADC Member States in regional and international trade in order to contribute to sustainable development in the SADC region.