01 March 2024

Launch Of The Year Book 2006 On Regional Integration In Southern Africa - Keynote Address By The Executive Secretary, Ms Tswelopele Moremi

05 April 2007, 12h00 13h00

Konrad Adenauer Foundation Office, 29 Feld Street
Windhoek, Namibia.

Director of Ceremonies;
Senior Government Officials, Members of the Private Sector and Civil Society here present;
The Resident Representative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Dr Anton Bosl;
The Acting Director of the Namibian Economic Policy Research Unit (NEPRU), Mr. Klaus Schade;
Members of the Press here present;
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;

1. It is a great honour for me to address you on this important subject of Regional Integration in Southern Africa, on the occasion of the Launch of the 2006 year book on Monitoring Regional Integration in Southern Africa. I would like to begin by thanking the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Foundation for inviting me to the launch of the 2006 edition of the Year Book on Monitoring Regional Integration in Southern Africa.

2. As you are aware, Regional Integration is a subject of growing importance for the Southern African region as a whole, including the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). This topic has been on the agenda for Southern Africa for the past half century and the need for a collective effort remains an important ingredient towards deepening Regional Integration.

3. The debates about Regional Integration arrangements in Southern Africa have intensified over the last two years.

This has been mainly as a result of developments that have taken place emanating from both internal and external Pressures.

4. In addition, Regional Integration is receiving increasing attention at the Continental level through initiatives of the African Union (AU). This debate about Regional Integration also involves other regional organizations such as SADC, COMESA and the EAC.

5. Director of Ceremonies as you are aware, the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is the oldest functional Customs Union in the world. SACU has advanced its integration further than what is required in a Customs Union, it does not only have a Common External Tariff but currently four of its Members are cooperating in the Common Monetary Area (CMA), and it is currently engaged in activities to further integrate the economies of its Member States.

6. Therefore one can safely say SACU has a legal framework to achieve deeper integration. To further deepen SACU´s integration, the new SACU Agreement provides for the development of common industrial policy, and a policy of unfair trade practices. It also provides for cooperation in Agriculture Policies and Competition Policies. In addition it provides for a Common Negotiating Mechanism with respect to trade negotiations with third parties.

7. To address the Challenge for deeper Regional Integration, the SACU Council of Ministers, which is the supreme decision making authority of SACU matters, has set up a Task Team consisting of Permanent Secretaries of Trade and Industry as well as Finance. The primary mandate of the SACU Task Team is to address issues of accelerating the implementation for the 2002 SACU Agreement and to advise Council on issues and challenges for deeper Regional Integration.

8. For my part, I firmly believe that the path to deepening Regional integration requires clear policies and action programmes. Regional Integration brings both opportunities and challenges. As Southern Africa pursues greater integration in the context of a very dynamic World Economy, it is essential that it improves its competitiveness and continues to ensure financial stability and facilitate economic development.

9. It is also my belief that Integration should also promote Economic Growth and Development for all those involved, eliminating some of the imbalances that exist in this regard within the Region.

10. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentleman, you will agree with me much more remains to be done. And there is no better time than now to forge ties among ourselves to achieve a vision of economic stability and prosperity for Southern Africa.

11. There are a number of areas and challenges that face the Regional Integration initiatives for Southern Africa These include:

12. In addition to these challenges, we have to ensure that globalization becomes a positive force for the entire world´s people. While globalisation offers great opportunities, at present its benefits are very unevenly shared, while its costs are unevenly distributed. We recognise that the developing countries and countries with economies in transition face special difficulties in responding to this central challenge.

13. It is here that multinational institutions, especially the World Trade Organisation (WTO), play an important facilitating role. It is therefore heartening to see that the Doha Development Round negotiations have been restarted. The onus is on us, however, to ensure that the focus that was originally placed on the development when the Doha Development Round was launched is not lost in the move to reach an agreement.

14. In conclusion, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentleman experience elsewhere has taught us that integration efforts cannot be successful with out the involvement of other relevant stakeholders such as the private sector and civil society generally as partners in the endeavour. It is for this reason that I am particularly grateful that this publication on Monitoring Regional Integration in Southern Africa is an Annual initiative.

15. It will therefore be important to share ideas with the academic community and research institutions such as those responsible for this Yearbook. This Yearbook can become an even bigger regional resource and a source of comparative knowledge for Southern Africa.

16. We would also like to express our appreciation to the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Foundation for its support for this particular project and we hope that it will continue.

17. As an Organisation SACU looks forward to working with all of you in taking the next steps on this journey toward greater Economic Development, and Prosperity, in Southern Africa.

18. With those few remarks I would like to officially launch the Year Book 6 on Monitoring Regional Integration in Southern Africa.

Thank you.