Malawi stands to benefit from the Southern African Development Community(SADC)’s industrialisation process as strategies other countries in the region are deploying would be incorporated in the national policy, Trade and Industry Minister Joseph Mwanamveka has said.
He made the remarks Tuesday morning on the sidelines of the 34th extraordinary SADC Summit at Meikles Hotel in Harare, Zimbabwe.
The meeting is being held under the theme: ‘Regional strategy and roadmap for industrialisation.’
Mwanamveka said the regional industrialisation strategy which has a long – term plan culminating into the launch of a tripartite strategy among SADC, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and East African Economic Community would contribute to a vibrant national policy for industrial growth.
“The launch of the continental free trade area later in June this year will help in the finalisation of consultation processes Malawi is undertaking with key partners in the sector. We’ll incorporate in the national plan whatever our colleagues in the region are doing,” said Mwanamveka.
According to Mwanamveka, there were a number of benefits that could come along with the regional industrialisation like creation of employment and value addition to products so that the country gets more revenue from exports.
“That said, Malawi needs to move forward to add value to its agricultural products like cotton, pigeon peas and soya, for example, so that crop produce stops to move direct from the garden to other countries thereby exporting the much needed employment opportunities for our economy,” he stressed.
Mwanamveka then disclosed that the Malawi Government had spearheaded the establishment of a private – public dialogue to hasten the process of industrialisation by bringing together government and the private sector.
However, Mwanamveka observed that the process had in the past been hampered by inadequate capacity by partners to withstand international competition and low capital for investment. But he said the industrialisation strategy would establish a regional bank to lend money to its affiliate member countries.
Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Dr George Chaponda said government has taken industrialisation as a key aspect to the Malawi’s socio – economic growth.
He said Lilongwe had embarked on the Green – Belt Initiative and Community Technical Colleges drives to fulfil the initiative.
“Malawi’s leadership has taken keen interest in the issue of industrialisation. That interest can be demonstrated in the recent establishment of 11 community technical colleges, the setting aside of 1million hectares for agricultural activities and a shift from importing to a predominantly exporting economy,” Chaponda added.
“So, having said all these things, we need to understand that talking about industrialisation implies improving people’s livelihoods with free movement of people from Malawi to Zimbabwe and South Africa and so on and so forth,” he said, a thin veiled reference to the recent xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa.
“Whether we’re talking about AU (African Union), SADC or COMESA, all the things are directly related in one way or the other,” Chaponda added.
In his remarks, SADC’s executive secretary Stergomena Lawrence Tax said approving the regional industrialisation strategy and roadmap would set the region’s path to industrialisation and socio – economic prosperity.
Tax said the strategy was anchored on three pillars that included the industrialisation, a champion of economic and technological transformation, among other things.
The regional strategy and industrialisation roadmap attempt to accelerate growth and enhancing comparative and competitive advantages of the region’s economies to run for a period of 48 years (2015 – 2063) during which, SADC would see itself progressing from being factor – driven to investment and innovation – driven economy with high levels of economic growth, competitiveness, incomes and employment opportunities.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :