Regional integration should be at the top of Southern African Development Community (SADC) agenda
3 Dec 2010
The global economic crisis has made it more urgent that regional integration should be at the top of our economic agenda. This was said by the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Ms Elizabeth Thabethe during the South Africa-Zambia Business Forum held in Sandton today.
“South Africa provides support to its neighbours in Southern Africa as part of its commitment to ensure balanced regional economic growth and development in the South African Development Communities (SADC) region and beyond. In so doing we recognise that the further growth and development of the South African national economy without the concurrent growth and development of neighbouring economies will be counterproductive to our collective efforts to develop the region,” said Thabethe.
Thabethe also recognised the close relationship that exists between the two countries in that it not only fostered economic relations but commercial cooperation as well. “We however need to explore ways and means of continuing, increasing and encouraging both trade and investment initiatives in the respective economies,” added Thabethe Jerry Vilakazi CEO of Business Unity South Africa said as business in South Africa they believe that investment in value added manufacturing and processing industries in Zambia will play a significant role in balancing the trade relations.
“We must also invest more in other sectors of the economy in this regard I wish to point out that currently mining still remains one of the highest lucrative sectors with high returns in Africa, however we are all aware that, the long term future for African economies does not lie in natural resources,” said Vilakazi.
He also pointed out that there is a strong and compelling need for diversification into sectors that can generate growth that is driven by domestic consumption. “We would like to urge the leaders of the region to show more political commitment to the regional economic integration agenda, one of the reasons why the SADC region still remains less two attractive for Foreign Direct Investment is because of the failure of the countries of the region to implement their own agreement,” concluded Vilakazi.
South Africa is Zambia’s main trading partner in the region, whilst Zambia is South Africa’s third trading partner in terms of exports and also third in terms of imports. Trade between the two countries takes place through the SADC Protocol on Trade. The trade balance is positively in favour of South Africa; with exports to Zambia almost nine times Zambia’s imports. In 2009 South African exports to Zambia amounted to R11 244 835 000 while imports from Zambia amounted to R1 660 124 000.
Later the Business Forum will be address by both President Jacob Zuma and his Zambian counterpart President Rupiah Banda.
Sidwell Moloantoa Medupe
Tel: 012 394 1650
Cell: 079 4921774
Source: Department of Trade and Industry
Issued by: Department of Trade and Industry
3 Dec 2010
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