THE Southern African Development Community (SADC) remains a strategic regional body in Africa and beyond because of its massive endowment of natural resources and improved human capital that it possessess, says Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe.
And Mrs Mwanakatwe has observed that removing non tariffs on certain goods remained a challenge for the region that is making headways in propelling its economic integration.
Mrs Mwanakatwe said there was need for regional economic grouping to double up its efforts in exploiting its rich natural resources for purposes of creating employment for the ordinary citizenry.
Mrs Mwanakatwe this during the ongoing SADC Council of Ministers which had been running from 14th August ahead of the 35th Ordinary SADC Heads of State and Government, which starts today.
“Here is a regional economic grouping which is well endowed with natural resources, well-endowed with human capital. And so how do we ensure that that endowment is translated into job creation,’’ she asked.
Mrs Mwanakatwe observed that as a result of the challenges that came with industrialization, the SADC region needed to position itself towards the enhancement of its various programmes in infrastructure, investment, among others, if it was to realise the set targets in economic development.
And Mrs Mwanakatwe said removing tariffs on certain goods remained a challenge for the region that was making headways in propelling its economic integration.
“Transformation is coming because the region is in a hurry to industrialize itself which will require that countries must begin within themselves. Transformation within Zambia and within my ministry remains pivotal in ensuring massive investments. Transformation must happen if we are going to grow GDP to inspire the region,” she elaborated.
She also pointed out that although SADC member states were at varying levels of economic growth, it was important that member states addressed the issue of how to accelerate development at the same time.
The 35th Ordinary SADC Heads of State and Government summit which begins on 17 August, 2015 is dubbed “Accelerating Industrialization of SADC Economies through Transformation of natural endowment and improved human capital.”
In April, 2014, the SADC Heads of State and Government approved the Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap at their Extraordinary Summit held in Zimbabwe to promote industrialization in the region, which represented a huge step towards economic liberation.
It is also expected that the SADC member states would harness the region’s vast and diverse natural resources.