Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
The Sadc Council of Ministers, which is part of the regional bloc’s Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government that started in Harare on Saturday, is meeting today to receive recommendations on the region’s industrialisation draft strategy and Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP).
This is part of the process towards adopting a comprehensive industrialisation strategy that will deepen the regional bloc’s integration strategy and accelerate poverty eradication.
A standing committee of senior officials met on Saturday and yesterday to deliberate on the issue.
The standing committee of senior officials chairperson Ambassador Joey Bimha told The Herald yesterday that his committee also made a decision on the Tripartite Free Trade Area that would also be tabled before today’s Council of Ministers’ meeting.
The recommendations are expected to be tabled before the full Summit of Heads of State and Government on Wednesday for adoption if the Council of Ministers approves them.
At least nine out of the 15 Sadc Heads of State and Government have so far confirmed their participation at the Summit.
Said Ambassador Bimha who is also Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs Secretary: “As senior officials, we discussed the industrialisation strategy and the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan. We have made recommendations that will be discussed by the Council of Ministers tomorrow (today).”
Ambassador Bimha would not shed light on the recommendations, saying he could not disclose them to the media before they were either discussed or adopted by the Council of Ministers today.
However, it is understood that the Council of Ministers would be meeting again tomorrow ahead of Wednesday’s Heads of State and Government meeting.
The Extraordinary Summit on Industrialisation is a brainchild of the Sadc Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Victoria Falls last August.
Following that summit, a regional ministerial taskforce was set up and it met in February this year to consider the strategy and roadmap for industrialisation in Sadc.
The Industrialisation Summit seeks to establish how Sadc is progressing on its mandate of economic development to improve livelihoods in a peaceful, sustainable and stable region.
At the August 2014 Summit, President Mugabe, who is the Sadc chair, urged member states to fast track value addition and beneficiation to drive the industrialisation process.
This dovetails into Zimbabwe’s economic blueprint, Zim Asset that has a cluster seeking to value add resources, mainly minerals, before they are exported.
During his State visit to South Africa recently, President Mugabe said industrialisation underpinned on value addition and beneficiation could not be achieved without an underlying ownership of natural resources.
Most of the African countries are exporting their products in their raw state, a move tantamount to the exportation of millions of jobs.
African Union Commission chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa executive secretary Dr Carlos Lopez and COMESA secretary-general Dr Sindiso Ngwenya have also been invited to the Summit.