Harare- The extraordinary SADC Council of Ministers meeting opened on Monday to consider and recommend the regional industrialization strategy and roadmap.

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Officially opening the meeting, SADC Council of Ministers chairperson and Zimbabwean Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said success of the strategy and roadmap would depend on partnerships between governments and the private sector.

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“The draft strategy and roadmap recognizes that industrial policy formulation and implementation will largely be undertaken at the national level and that its success will depend on forging effective partnerships between governments and the private sector,” he said.

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Minister Mumbengegwi said the roadmap spanned over a 48-year period and would be rolled out from 2015 to 2063 in three phases.

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“The roadmap spans over a period of 48 years (2015-2063). During this period, the Sadc region will see itself progress from being factor-driven to being investor drive (2021-2050) and beyond that to being an innovation-driven economy (2051-2063) with high levels of economic growth, competitiveness, incomes and employment,” he said.

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He said the goal of the industrialization strategy was to promote beneficiation and value addition of products to boost the region’s earnings from exports.

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“Without beneficiation and value addition to our products, trade liberation would only serve to perpetuate unsustainable trade imbalances,” he said.

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Sadc is currently shipping most of its products in raw form.

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Sadc executive secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, said the strategy would guide the entire region in its quest for socio-economic transformation through industrialization.

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“The strategy is expected to be a living policy framework that will guide our region in its quest to socio-economic transformation through industrialization, contributing to sustainable development, poverty reduction and thus improved livelihood,” she said.

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Tax said the regional industrialization strategy and roadmap, once approved by Heads of States and Governments, would set Sadc on the path to industrialization and socio-economic prosperity.

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“The strategy is anchored on three pillars, namely industrialization as a champion of economic and technological transformation; competitiveness as an active process to move from comparative advantage to competitive edges, and regional integration and geography as the context for industrial development and economic prosperity,” she said.

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Dr Tax said the strategy, premised on regional integration, was an “important vehicle” to accelerate industrialization.

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“In order to achieve this feat we have set ourselves, it is clear that the region is embarking on a long term project of economic and social transformation to be supported by concerted efforts and commitment,” she said.

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The Council of Ministers has the task of considering and recommending the SADC industrialization roadmap for approval by the extraordinary summit of Heads of States and Governments to be held on Wednesday.

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At least nine of the 15 Sadc Heads of States and Governments have so far confirmed their participation.-New Ziana