KIZITO SIKUKA, Harare
POLICY implementation is a challenge confronting most countries in southern Africa, and one of the factors impacting on the effective implementation of regional projects and
programmes is lack of communication.
For example, if a particular policy or programme is not well understood by stakeholders, there is likely to be some obstacles in the policy implementation. In this regard, communication is an essential ingredient for effective implementation of regional policies.
As a result, SADC member states are expected to take an active role in communicating the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap that was adopted by the SADC Extraordinary Summit held in 2015 in Harare, Zimbabwe.
The SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap aims to accelerate the momentum towards strengthening the comparative and competitive advantages of economies of the region.
The Industrialization Strategy was developed as an inclusive long-term plan for modernisation and economic transformation that should enable substantial and sustained economic development to raise living standards.
It is anchored on three pillars — industrialization, competitiveness and regional integration. Strategic interventions for each of these pillars are proposed in the action plan.
These include an improved policy environment for industrial development, increased volume and efficiency of public and private sector investments in the SADC economy, creation of regional value chains and participation in related global processes, as well as increased value addition for agricultural and non-agricultural products and services.
To publicize the strategy, SADC and its Member States are holding various national and regional meetings that are aimed at educating various stakeholders on the strategy.
For example, Zimbabwe held a national meeting in April with the private sector, research institutions and academia on the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap.
The SADC Secretariat held a meeting in May with the media in Botswana to raise awareness and build partnerships on the implementation of the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap.
The acting SADC Director for Industrial Development and Trade, Dr Lomkhosi Mkhonta-Gama said, with proper understanding of the Industrialization Strategy, the media can play an important role in raising awareness about the strategy.
“We consider the media as a critical stakeholder in moving the industrialization programmes in the SADC region forward,” she said, adding that the engagement with the media is meant to ensure that journalists are “more knowledgeable’ about the industrialization agenda.
To further publicise the strategy, SADC, in collaboration with the South African Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of International Relations and Corporation and the Southern Africa Business Forum, will host a SADC Industrialization Week on 31 July-4 August in Johannesburg, South Africa.
According to a statement, the industrialization week will be a prelude to the SADC Summit, “bringing together public and private sector representatives from the 15 SADC Member States to accelerate regional integration, enhance intra-African trade and increase levels of investment.”
“It (industrialization week) will provide a platform for disseminating information on the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063 which was approved by the SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government in April 2015 in Harare, Zimbabwe,” reads part of the statement.
“The event will also act as a platform for intensifying the engagement and development of partnerships among policy makers, private sector, academia, researchers and other key stakeholders to promote the SADC Industrialization Strategy at national and regional level.”
The first-ever SADC Industrialization Week was held in August 2016 on the margins of the 36th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government in Ezulwini, the Kingdom of Swaziland.
The objective of the industrialization week is to popularize the strategy and identify industrialization projects that can be implemented jointly by public and private sector within SADC Member States.
Such projects include infrastructure development, regional trade and industrial capacity.
The main focus is on three spheres — Strengthening Value Chains, Corridor Development and Enhancing Infrastructure.
Regarding value chain projects, priority is placed on mining and mineral beneficiation, agro-processing and pharmaceuticals.
Corridor development involves various enabling factors such as standards and quality infrastructure, trade facilitation and transport infrastructure. With regards to infrastructure development, special focus is on water and energy projects.