THE 5th Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Annual Industrialisation Week (SIW) is underway in Lilongwe, Malawi where key stakeholders are engaging over strategies aimed at fostering new opportunities for intra-African trade and investment in the region.
Organised by the Sadc Secretariat in conjunction with the Republic of Malawi and the Sadc Business Council since Monday, the gathering continues up to Friday at the Bingu WaMutharika International Convention Centre.
Due to Covid-19, the event allows for both physical and virtual participation and features keynote addresses from high profile speakers on a wide range of themes and topics, panel discussions with industry experts and project owners, break-away sessions of key topical concern, exhibitions and matchmaking for SMEs factory tours.
In an update statement, Sadc said the theme for this year’s event is: “Bolstering productive capacities in the face of Covid-19 pandemic for inclusive, sustainable economic and industrial transformation”.
Among the major areas of focus, said the bloc, is the need to; position Sadc private sector to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), feedback and progress on the Sadc Regional Gas Masterplan of Financial services and opportunities for financing industrialisation.
The need to harmonise industrial policy tax regime, identification, support of key power generation and transmission infrastructure projects required for industrialisation and unlocking regional value chains, also top the agenda.
Others include trade facilitation through identifying and resolving Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) in Sadc, building linkages between MSMEs and Southern-led MNCs.
“This event’s recommendations and outputs will be included in the SIW declaration statement and presented to the Sadc Council of Ministers. This body determines policy discussions for Heads of State and Government for action,” reads the statement.