By: Julia Heita
Southern African Customs Union (SACU) has announced that it is currently working on a refocused work programme that prioritises industrialisation as its overarching objective.
SACU’s executive secretary Paulina Elago said this during a visit by Vice President Nangolo Mbumba to the SACU secretariat.
According to her, the programme will be attained through four distinct priorities, namely the development of regional value chains, investment attraction and export promotion, financing for industrialisation, trade facilitation and logistics, as well as
the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade
“Through industrialisation, SACU seeks to deepen regional economic integration by developing regional value chains. In this regard, SACU Member States have also adopted a vision for industrialisation,” said Elago.
SACU selected three priority sectors to attain its vision, including sub-sectors, that will underpin the region’s industrialisation objective.
The sectors include agro-processing, textiles and clothing, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and essential oils.
“These priority sectors were selected due to their potential to benefit the region in terms of value addition, employment creation, and overall contribution to economic development,” she said.
Elago touched on trade facilitation and logistics, saying that SACU seeks to create a seamless trade environment for cross-border movements.
Elago further said it would be done by applying innovative and emerging technologies to streamline processes, enhance collaboration, and detect and deter illicit trade in goods within the common Customs area.
“It will also address obstacles and hindrances facing businesses moving goods across the borders in the common customs area and beyond. The goal is to develop trade facilitation solutions that are practical and geared towards enhanced efficiency and reduced transaction costs,” she said.
Elago also explained that the trade facilitation and logistics programme is expected to achieve improved administrative efficiencies, reduced time, improved compliance and security of the supply chain.
Speaking at the conference, Vice President Nangolo Mbumba said the country recognises SACU’s continuous involvement in regional integration efforts by being a member of SACU is thus a strategic response to the growing demand for market enlargement within the context of globalisation.
“We prioritise regional integration efforts as a credible
strategy for tackling our development challenges. It is an ideal platform for promoting large scale investment and economic efficiency required for economic growth and employment creation,” he said.
During the visit, Mbumba urged the SACU Secretariat to work closely with all member states and Namibia to ensure that SACU’s trade policies are entrenched and streamlined with Namibia’s national policies.