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SADC OKs €600m for structures

From EMELDA MWITWA in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
SOUTHERN African Development Community leaders have approved €600 million for regional infrastructure.
The SADC council of ministers meeting prior to the 34th heads of State and Government summit here, approved the list of potential regional infrastructure investment projects to be considered for funding under the 2015/16 annual action plan.
In its infrastructure development master plan, SADC has a number of regional integration projects such as roads, railways, bridges, border facilities and hydro-electricity generation projects among others, some of which have not been implemented and others have stalled due to financial issues.
SADC executive secretary Stergomena Tax said at a media briefing at Elephant Hills Resort that infrastructure development had been identified as key to the process of regional integration.
Infrastructure development is one of the four priority areas in the revised regional indicative strategic development plan. The other three are industrialisation and market integration, peace and security and special projects.
“These programmes are interlinked. They are geared to enhance socio-economic development and eradicate poverty, Dr Tax said.
She said the four were pillars for enhancing trade in the SADC free trade area.
“You can’t enhance intra-regional trade in the region if you have no capacity to produce and add value to production. Trade must be supported by infrastructure,” Dr Tax said.
Meanwhile, the council also endorsed the decision by the Committee of Ministers to address some of the implementation changes of the SADC free trade area.
In a similar vein, the SADC secretariat has been asked to facilitate implementation of all pillars of the development integration agenda.
This entails fast-tracking the coordination of measures for effective implementation of the SADC industrial development policy framework and the industrial upgrading and modernisation programme in order to boost the region’s  productive competitiveness and industrial capacity.
This is expected to bring about equity, fairness and balance in intra-regional trade.

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