(AA) – African leaders who met in Zimbabwean capital Harare for an extraordinary summit of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) on Wednesday approved the bloc’s industrialization strategy and roadmap.
The strategy and the roadmap were recommended in August of last year during a SADC summit in the Zimbabwean resort of Victoria Falls.
A panel of the foreign and trade ministers of member states was formed with the aim of formulating the strategy for the entire region within seven months.
The strategy will seek to utilize the diverse resources of the region to bring about sustainable economic and social development.
On Wednesday, SADC executive secretary, Stergomena Lawrence Tax, said grouping leaders had approved the strategy and the roadmap after an eight-hour meeting in Harare.
“They also reaffirmed the importance of industrial development in poverty alleviation and economic emancipation of the people of the region,” Tax said, citing the final communiqué of the meeting.
She said the strategy would be based on three pillars, namely industrialization, competitiveness and regional integration.
“It will also be premised on three-term-long phase perspectives covering 2015 to 2063,” Tax said.
She added that the perspectives would be aligned to the continental vision 2063, a global strategy aimed at optimizing the usage of African resources for the benefit of all Africans.
The meeting, meanwhile, called on member states to explore new ways of funding for the strategy, given diverse economic conditions in these states.
“The summit underscored the critical importance of infrastructure in supporting industrialization and the need to explore appropriate funding mechanisms to support the implementation of industrialization mechanisms,” Tax said.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, the current chairman of the summit, said each SADC member state would be tasked with a trade area to develop.
“Why can we not look at our resources and integrate ourselves?” Mugabe asked. “It is not that we do not have resources, but the resource that we do not have is capital,” he added.