A SADC Secretariat statement said yesterday that the signing ceremony took place during the closing ceremony of the 39th Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC).
The three programmes, which will be implemented by the SADC secretariat, were listed as ‘Support to Improving the Investment and Business Environment (SIBE), Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) and Support to Industrialisation and Productive Sectors (SIPS).’
The SIBE Programme aims at achieving sustainable, inclusive growth and support job creation through transforming the region into a SADC investment zone, promoting intra-region investment and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), with a focus on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The Trade Facilitation Programme will contribute to enhancing inclusive economic development in the SADC region through deepening regional economic integration. Finally, the SIPS programme is geared to contribute to the SADC industrialisation agenda, improving the performance and growth of selected regional value chains and related services in the agro-processing and pharmaceutical sectors.
“The signing of the three agreements reflects enduring partnership between SADC and EU towards enhancing SADC regional integration and socio-economic development, particularly at this time when SADC is committed to place industrialisation at the centre of regional integration,” noted the SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Tax.
Dr Tax noted that the three programmes are interconnected and interdependent, and collectively contribute to the 39th SADC Theme, ‘A Conducive Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, Intra-Regional Trade and Job Creation,’ by placing emphasis on the development of regional value chains, facilitation of intra-regional trade and the creation of a conducive environment for sustainable investment and business in the SADC region.
Jan Sadek, Ambassador of the EU to SADC, remarked that "the EU believes that trade facilitation, the promotion of a competitive and diversified industrial development, investment promotion and an improved business environment are the foundation for inclusive and sustainable development."
The EU envoy underlined that the three new EU-SADC programmes are a reflection of the EU strategy towards Africa, as expressed in the EU-Africa Alliance for sustainable development and jobs. “We need to promote trade, to support conducive business environment, and to facilitate investment and industrialisation in order to contribute to economic growth and decent jobs creation,” he stated.
SADC-EU regional cooperation dates back to the 1980s and since the 2000s, the overall EU contribution to SADC regional integration reaches euros 415 million in total, covering peace and security, infrastructure, trade, business environment and agriculture, the SADC secretariat elaborated.
President John Magufli began one year of chairing the development community as the summit went into gear on Saturday.