The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat brought together member States in what they refer to as the Regional Learning Platform for the Protocol on Finance and Investment (FIP) as part of intensifying its efforts to strengthen the implementation of the FIP at national level.
SADC Senior Programme Officer-Macroenomic Policies and Convergence, Sadwick Mtonakutha, pointed out that the implementation of the FIP is crucial as the Protocol is an important instrument in creating a favourable business and investment climate in the SADC region.┬á
He stated that the implementation of the FIP, if realized to its full potential, will bring about benefits that will directly impact on the ordinary people in the SADC region.┬á He further added that the benefits arise from the impact of the FIP, which includes ensuring economic stability, attracting additional investment into the region, and facilitating trade in the region.
“SADC member States are coordinating their investment regimes through the FIP in order to establish a regional investment destination and overcome the limitations of their individually small markets,” he stated.
Mtonakutha said SADC member states increase the stability of their financial systems through the harmonization of regulatory standards along international best practice in the areas of banking, insurances and pension funds.
“What is currently going on is the SADC development fund for members to benefit from its services,” he said.
He further said through the FIP, member states are working towards implementing a safe and efficient payment system in each member state, and developing a cross-border payment strategy for the region.┬á He added that efficient payment systems are critical for the smooth running of businesses and, as such, are important in attracting FDI.┬á
“Cross-border payments are critical for cross-border investments.”
GIZ ÔÇôFIP Coordinator SADC Regional Economic Integration Programme, Roseline Seleka, revealed that consultants have been engaged to assist member states in the implementation of the FIP. She added that through the support, some of the SADC member states have already set up national coordination structures to support the implementation process of the FIP.
“In Botswana, as in most SADC Member States, the FIP implementation responsibility rests with the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank, in this case Bank of Botswana,” she said.