The talk of industrial development at the 35th Ordinary Summit had in it a sense of urgency and priority. The SADC member states have ear marked industrial development as its core developmental focus to further advance the growth and development that the region has attained over the past years but not without addressing the challenges that mar the region and prevent it from achieving sustainable growth path. The SADC member states expressed the same fervent commitment to keep in line with the regional vision of achieving from industrial development diversification of economies, responsiveness to economic challenges such as poverty and unemployment and inclusiveness of the private sector to activate and use relevant skills and knowledge to mention but a few.
When delivering their speeches SADC heads of states highlighted the bearing of industrial development on social and socio-economic progress of the region. “The focus of our Summit on industrialization and how to bring it about is timely. We must act with a sense of urgency to ensure that value addition becomes the mainstay of our economies. Exportation of raw materials simply means exportation of jobs. In effect, it denies us the opportunity to industrialize our countries and to fully develop our human capital. We need to bring to a halt the existing trend by which we trade in goods that we do not consume and consume goods that we do not produce,” said Dr. Hage Geingob, the President of Namibia. He recognized that the intent of industrializing economies will depend on the availability of reliable electricity supply of which regional cooperation will be important in addressing the current electricity shortfall.
The President of Zambia, Edgar Chagwa Lungu also spoke in tune by expressing that “we need to promote pro-industrialization policies, foster small and medium enterprises development, increase intra-regional trade, invest in power generation and adapt to the effects of climate change.” Lungu aligned the achievement of such factors to the region taking solid actions in accelerating economic growth.
In his address, the President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe asserted that the focus on industrial development is indicative of the region’s progress in socio-economic and social transformation. “With the finalization and adoption of the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2015 ÔÇô 2020, the streamlining of industrial development into the master plan and the prioritization of the industrialization pillar, our vision of regional integration has been further solidified and our priorities redefined.”