Dr Tax

Dr Tax

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Kuda Bwititi and Tinashe Farawo

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The Sadc Extraordinary Summit on Industrialisation started in Harare yesterday with a meeting of the standing committee of senior officials endorsing the region’s industrialisation draft strategy and revision of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan, marking major milestones in the trajectory of regional economic development.

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Following the endorsement, the two strategies will be put before the Council of Ministers, which meets between tomorrow and Tuesday, for approval before forwarding the master plans to the Heads of the State and Government of the 15-member bloc on Wednesday.

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President Mugabe chairs the bloc as well as the African Union.

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Speaking exclusively to The Sunday Mail after conclusion of the first day of the indaba last night, Sadc Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax said the industrialisation strategy and RISDP blueprint had been unanimously endorsed.

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“I am pleased to announce to you that that draft strategy and roadmap have been approved by the standing committee of senior officials today. The senior officials were satisfied with the progress made and they have recommended to the next level, which is the Council of Ministers.

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“We are hoping that when they have their meetings on Monday and Tuesday, the Council of Ministers will endorse it for forwarding to the Heads of State,” she said.

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Dr Tax described yesterday’s meeting as “very successful” after delegates spent the day deliberating on aspects of the strategies, which will be anchored on sustainable economic development.

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The Sadc Executive Secretary said the industrialisation strategy would be anchored on three phases that will see economic growth expanding to 6 percent annually in the next five years, 8 percent between 2020 and 2050, and then 5 percent from 2051 to 2063.

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This dovetails with the AU’s Agenda 2063. “In the first phase, we aim to achieve low income per capita. The economic growth should be 6 percent annually, then during the second phase, the per capita growth should get to 8 percent. In the third phase, annual growth is 5 percent, because the more you grow, the lesser the growth rate,” Dr Tax said.

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She explained that during the three phases, economic growth would be premised on consolidation of the RISDP, diversification and innovation.

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“The first phase covers the period from 2015-2020 and it focuses on consolidation of the RISDP which also covers the same period under review, laying the firm foundation for development.

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“The second phase covers the period from 2021 to 2015 and it entails moving from a factor driven approach to an efficiency driven mechanism that focuses on diversification and productivity, which is essentially on the partnership that will be built between the public and the private sector.

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“In the third phase which runs from 2051 to 2063, we expect further transformation based on high level of innovation and business satisfaction.”

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Dr Tax commended the Zimbabwe Government for successfully hosting the Summit, saying the first day had set the tone for the Council of Ministers and Heads of State meetings.

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“Everything was in place; we started on time and all the necessary facilities were provided. We believe that the coming meetings of the Council of Ministers as well as the Heads of State will also be a success,” she said.

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Secretary for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Joey Bimha added: “We focused mainly on two issues, which were the consideration of the draft strategy and roadmap for industrialisation of the region and the finalisation of RISDP.

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“Other issues that were on the agenda included preparations for the Third Comesa-Sadc-EAC Tripartite Summit, preparations for the launch of negotiations for the Continental Free Trade area, Sadc-Russia Co-operation and other issues. Tomorrow we come up with the final papers which we will submit to the Council of Ministers for their meeting that starts on Monday.”

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The Extraordinary Summit on Industrialisation was proposed at the Ordinary Summit in Victoria Falls last August.

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A regional ministerial taskforce was mandated to meet by February 2015 to consider the strategy and roadmap for industrialisation in Sadc.

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The Industrialisation Summit underscores how Sadc is progressing its mandate of economic development to improve livelihoods in a peaceful and stable region.

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At the August 2014 Summit, Sadc Chair President Mugabe urged members to fast track value addition and beneficiation so as to drive industrialisation.

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More recently, while on a State visit to South Africa, he underscored that industrialisation as led by value addition and beneficiation could not be achieved without an underlying ownership of natural resources.

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