30 March 2023

Official Opening Statement - Workshop on Aid for Trade for SACU by: Tswelopele C. Moremi Executive Secretary of SACU

8 - 9 September 2008, Safari Court & Hotel Windhoek, Namibia

Directors of Ceremonies,
Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Trade and Industry, Dr. Malan Lindeque,
Senior Advisor and Coordinator of the UNDP, Trade and Human Development Unit, Geneva, Mr. David Luke
The Lead Economist Mr. Lupekule Mlambo,
Distinguished Officials from SACU Member States
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honour for me to make some opening remarks at this very first Workshop on Aid for Trade for SACU Member States. First of all I would like to welcome you all to Windhoek and trust that in addition to working hard over the next two days, you will also find time to enjoy this beautiful city. In particular, I would like to welcome the representatives from the regional and International Organizations who have travelled from far to be here as resource persons for the Workshop. I would like to thank them for cooperating with the Secretariat in realizing this important workshop. I do hope that you will find the arrangements made for the workshop meet your expectations.

Distinguished Delegates,

The Secretariat started to develop keen interest on this topic at the 2007 ADB Annual General Meetings in Shanghai in China, when ADB presented the work that they have been doing on Aid For Trade in Africa. Following this the Secretariat was invited to attend the ADB Workshop on Aid for Trade held in October 2007 in Arusha, Tanzania. The Secretariat considered this an opportunity for SACU Member States to begin to collectively address this issue. Subsequent to this the Secretariat submitted proposals to the SACU Council for SACU to develop a comprehensive position on Aid for Trade given the trade related capacity constraints in the Member States. On the basis of this, Council directed the Secretariat to start a preparatory process aimed at better understanding this initiative and the importance for the region to proactively respond. The convening of this Workshop is the beginning of that process of developing a SACU position. It provides an opportunity for Member States, the Secretariat and development partners to jointly address identified supply side constraints at both the regional and national level.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you are aware, one of the major issues which impact negatively on intra African trade is inadequate productive capacity and poor infrastructure. You are also aware for sometime Africa's share of world trade has been declining. At the same time, one of the objectives of the 2002 SACU Agreement is to promote the integration of SACU Member States into global economy through trade and investment. It is our view that in order to achieve this, SACU Member States have to earnestly address the supply side of the constraints which hinder their effective participation.

As the Secretariat started the preparations for this Workshop we realized that UNDP and UNECA were also doing some work in this area hence their participation here today. The Secretariat was happy to learn that the UNDP Trade and Human Development Unit in Geneva is able to assist by among other things undertaking needs assessment exercise for SACU countries, based on their experience in assisting other countries, to do the same. This workshop therefore aims to contribute to the ongoing needs assessment exercise of the Member States.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This Workshop is also timely in that it is taking place immediately after the SACU Council Retreat which took place on 29 August - 1st September 2008, in Kasane, Botswana. This Retreat among other things reconfirmed an important objective to integrate SACU Member States into the global economy through trade and investment. This is critical for them to address their development challenges.

In this regard, it is our expectation that this Workshop can serve as a platform to identify from a trade and developmental perspective, the key areas that would strengthen the integration of SACU Member States into the global economy.

In conclusion, the Secretariat is convinced that this workshop can make an important contribution to SACU's consolidation objective, by establishing the basis for an integrated approach to Aid for Trade where the needs of individual SACU Member States and the regional integration objectives are addressed in a coherent manner. An important outcome of this Workshop should also be a clear roadmap for the region to mobilize resources under the Aid for Trade initiative to enhance the trade capacity and performance of SACU Member Sates and advance its global integration agenda.

We therefore consider this Workshop as a useful pillar towards development, increased trade and economic growth, by moving towards an effective utilization of aid for trade-related technical assistance, trade-related infrastructure and development of trade related productive capacity. It is also our expectation that your deliberations will serve as input in designing an integrated SACU financing package on Aid for Trade at a regional level and outlining action plans and next steps.

Before I conclude I would like to thank the ADB and the UNDP and UNECA for their support and trust that this is a beginning of a long term collaboration with SACU.

I wish you successful and fruitful deliberations and look forward to a positive outcome of this Workshop.

I thank you.