More prominence appears to have been given to minerals following the recent Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State and Government Summit in Zimbabwe. Regional leaders approved two crucial blueprint documents on economic integration and industrialisation in Southern Africa during the Extra-Ordinary Summit.
In view of the crucial importance of agriculture in the region, a focus on agriculture can bring broader benefits and major impact it many people in the region. Sub-Saharan Africa remains an overwhelming agricultural region. The region is blessed with fertile land, water and a good agricultural climate needed to be a leading global food producer.
However, as noted at the Summit trade between southern African countries remain low, at around 10 percent, while the figure is much higher with trading partners outside the continent. The Summit considered the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap and the revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (2015-2020) as mandated at the 34th Ordinary SADC Summit held in August 2014, in Zimbabwe.
The SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap is anchored on three pillars, i.e. industrialisation, competitiveness and regional integration, and is also premised on a three-phase long outlook covering 2015-2063. The Industrialisation Strategy is thus aligned with the African Union’s Agenda 2063. The Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP 2015-2020) will guide the implementation of SADC programmes in the next five years and will focus on four priority areas. These are an industrial development and market integration; infrastructure in support of regional integration, peace and security cooperation, and special programmes of a regional dimension.
Mineral beneficiation is amongst others seen by regional leaders as a great source of job creation and enhancement of economic development in the region. Beneficiation is regarderd as a crucial part of industrialisation and regional integration. SADC is currently integrating with other two regional blocs, i.e. Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Commission (EAC).