Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
THE sadc Council of Ministers’ meeting to discuss the region’s Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap to be presented to the Extraordinary Summit to be held next month, begins in Harare tomorrow with Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi saying value addition and beneficiation were the solution to the region’s development.
A number of meetings of senior officials, experts and sub-committees have been held since February 22 ahead of the meeting.
“Under normal circumstances this will be a Council session dedicated to administrative and budgetary issues, but of the very important decisions that were taken at last year’s sadc Summit in Victoria Falls, we are also looking at various activities designed to implement the decisions of the Victoria Falls Summit.
“As you know the Victoria Falls Summit had its theme revolving around the whole question of industrialisation, beneficiation and value addition,” Minister Mumbengegwi said.
“It was the decision of the Summit that this issue, which was the theme, was far too important to fall away and the Summit therefore decided that an Extra-Ordinary Summit of sadc be held before the end of April to look at the whole question of industrialisation for the sadc region.”
Minister Mumbengengwi said the Council of Ministers’ meeting would devise the sadc Industrial Strategy roadmap that would guide the region in what it wanted to do.
“The question of industrialisation is critical because without industrialisation, the whole concept of development becomes meaningless.
“Most countries in the region are exporting their resources in their raw form and derive very little benefit from that,” he said.
The minister said the roadmap would encourage member states to come up with strategies where they would leverage their resources to attract investors.
sadc Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, said the Council of Ministers’ meeting would also look at the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan.
“The meeting will also look at where we are in terms of finalising the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan,” she said. Dr Tax said the plan looked at market integration and industrialisation as the two went hand in hand.
Meanwhile, Dr Tax has commended sadc countries that held elections since August last year saying they were held in peaceful manner and produced credible outcomes that augur well for the development of the region.
The countries include Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Mauritius, Lesotho and Zambia.