The first ever SADC Industrialization week is taking place on the margins of the 36th SADC Heads of State and Government Summit in Mbabane, Swaziland from 23rd to 26th August 2016. The event is held under the theme “Resource Mobilization for Investment in Sustainable Energy Infrastructure for an Inclusive SADC Industrialization and for the Prosperity of the Region”.
The objective of the convention is to popularize the Industrialization Strategy and to identify industrialization projects that can be implemented jointly by the public and private sector within SADC Member States. Such projects may concern infrastructure, regional trade and industrial capacity. The main focus is on three spheres, namely Strengthening Value Chains, Corridor Development and Enhancing Infrastructure. Regarding value chain projects, priority is placed on mining and mineral beneficiation, agro-processing and pharmaceuticals. Corridor development, on the other hand, concerns enabling factors such as standards and quality infrastructure, trade facilitation and transport infrastructure. Finally, related to all of these issues is the item of infrastructure, focusing on water and energy projects.
The discussions were advanced in focused working groups, presentations by enterprises from across the region, business clinics for small and medium enterprises and high level dialogues uniting Ministers and CEOs from SADC companies. The main agenda item is the second annual meeting of the Southern African Business Forum (SABF) which unites more than 200 private sector and other industry stakeholders from across the region.
In his welcome remarks to the Industrialization Week and the SABF, Dr. Thembinkosi Mhlongo, SADC Deputy Executive Secretary responsible for Regional Integration said that in order to implement the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and the Industrialization Strategy, there should be a strong partnership between the government and the private sector. The Revised RISDP and the Industrialization Strategy already call for the establishment of a platform for the Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) and this may well be the perfect beginning for a long-lasting and fruitful relationship.
The Industrialization Week is supported by Strategic Partners such as the African Development Bank, NEPAD Business Foundation, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Southern Africa Trust, European Union, European Investment Bank, SADC PPP Network and International Finance Corporation.