AS the meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of Ministers came to an end this Sunday, the agenda of economic recovery emanated as an area that needs to be prioritised within the region.
The meeting which sat from March 18-19 this year in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was convened under the 42nd SADC Summit theme, “Promoting industrialisation through agro-processing, mineral beneficiation, and regional value chains for inclusive and resilient economic growth”.
Such takes into account the urgent need to enhance the roll out of the SADC industrialisation and market integration programmes in the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030.
During the meeting the Tanzania delegation responsible with evaluating implementation of the plans during the financial year 2022/2023 as well as setting strategies for the execution of plans for the financial year 2023/2024, was led by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Stergomena Tax. Deputy Minister for Agriculture Mr Anthony Mavunde was also part of the delegates.
In her contributions, Dr Tax reported the status of important SADC documents translation into Kiswahili language, construction of a statue in honour of the founding Father of Tanzania former President the late Julius Nyerere and the SADC pooled procurement services of essential medicines and medical supplies coordinated by the Medical Stores Department (MSD).
Dr Tax emphasized on the importance of fast-tracking the implementation of the above areas, indicating that document translation is in the stage of finding a bidder for the job, construction of the statue is currently ongoing and it’s expected to be finalised by the end of this year.
As for the SADC pooled procurement services, MSD has continued carrying out the task, calling upon member states to increase the pace of employing the system taking into account its benefits which includes reducing the cost of purchasing drugs and medical equipment.
In his opening speech earlier, the DRC Prime Minister Mr Jean-Michel Kyenge highlighted the need for enhanced peace, stability and security to create an enabling environment for sustainable investment and economic growth in the SADC region.
On his part, the Chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers, Mr Didier Mukanzu who is the Minister of Regional Integration and Francophonie of the DRC called on Member States to redouble their efforts to eliminate all forms of obstacles that hinder SADC’s efforts towards achieving the priorities outlined in the RISDP 2020-2030, particularly in the areas of infrastructure in support of regional integration and industrial development and market integration.
He said the removal of these obstacles will enable increased intra-regional trade, job creation and the improvement of the living standards of the people.
Among other areas outlined are industrial development for mineral beneficiation, leather, agriculture, reliable electricity, gender equality in the political arena and strengthening regional peace and security.
The areas have been critically observed in the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030, whereby the SADC secretariat has pledged further coordination in its implementation.
For the case of Tanzania, about 11 projects have been highlighted in the plan which includes water sector development in River Songwe, leather processing, fertilizer production, blue economy, energy, research, education and the production of human and animal medicines.
Thus, Tanzania eyes to implement the projects particularly that relating to energy and fertilizer production so that it can sell to other member countries, many of which are facing a shortage of electricity and fertilizer.