SADC Industrialization Week Recap
In April 2015, the SADC Heads of State or Government approved the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063. From the beginning, The Southern Africa Trust has been involved in putting this strategy into operation; in particular, facilitating public-private dialogues between the SADC Secretariat, private sector and civil society organisations.
The focus of the work of the Trust was to get business associations and individual companies in Southern Africa, both at a regional and national level, to be involved in the industrialisation process.
An entry point for the exchange of positions has been the annual SADC Industrialisation Week, which is implemented prior to the SADC Summit. The private sector input of each year is summarised in a declaration, which is brought to the attention of the SADC Council of Ministers and thus to the SADC Heads of State or Government.
Private-Public Partnership Manager, Ullrich Klins attended this year’s SADC Industrialisation Week (July 30 to August 1, 2018 in Windhoek, Namibia) and shares some key thoughts from his experience.
”The Southern Africa Trust has been involved since 2015, and mainly supported the process by bringing in human resources, our expertise and also by financially supporting industry-specific experts and service providers to coordinate the private sector declaration. We assisted in facilitating industry-specific working groups to further develop regional value chains in the fields of pharmaceutics, agriculture and mining. This year, based on the decision of the SADC Council of Ministers from March 2017, we developed a private sector engagement mechanism for a more effective collaboration between the public and private sector. This mechanism is now owned by the private sector and a Plan of Action is currently being developed.”
Indeed, one achievement of this year’s Industrialisation Week is that the private sector agreed on an overarching structure, which will function as the entry point for the public sector in questions that refer to economic development. The overarching structure, the “SADC Business Council” will include the regional business associations and be strongly linked to the private sector organisations at national level. The goal is that decisions made at the regional level need to be brought down to the national level in order to start implementing these decisions. The overarching structure will thus have a Steering Committee composed of representatives from key organisations at national level.
“This is a great step in the right direction”, states Klins, “as this will also help to hold governments accountable at both a regional and national level, so that the implementation of the jointly agreed decisions can be monitored and followed up with”.