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SADC mobilises media on industrialisation

By Paulus Shiku
JOHANNESBURG, 30 JUL (NAMPA) - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat is encouraging the media from across the southern African region to raise awareness about the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap.
This is done through workshops with media representatives from all 15 member states.
To this effect, about 40 journalists attended a one-day workshop here Sunday to learn about the strategy and roadmap. Madagascar, Tanzania and Seychelles were not represented at the workshop due to visa issues.
A similar workshop took place in Botswana in May this year.
In her speech during the workshop, Acting Director for Industrial Development and Trade at the SADC Secretariat Lomkhosi Mkhonta-Gama said the aim is to sensitise the media to assist in driving the strategy forward by distributing information from a well-informed angle.
The Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063, approved by SADC leaders in April 2015, is aimed at steering the major economic and technological transformation of the region. This includes raising the living standard of people in the region and intensifying structural transformation to rapidly catch up with industrialised and developed countries.
The strategy is anchored on three pillars - industrialisation as champion of economic and technological transformation; competitiveness as an active process to move from comparative advantage to competitive advantage; and regional integration and geography as the context for industrial development and economic prosperity.
Mkhonta-Gama said the aspirations and achievements of SADC must be widely disseminated through the media so the region is portrayed as a preferred cooperating partner.
“SADC must be made visible for all the good and successful initiatives that we drive. This way, we will fully realise our development aim: that of eradicating poverty in the SADC region, with our own citizens being prime drivers of regional integration,” she said.
Mkhonta-Gama explained that the desire is to develop African countries, making them competitive as developed nations in order to create more jobs and alleviate poverty.
She said this can only be achieved through industrialisation.
Another Secretariat member, Dr Monnane Monnane said value addition is crucial to industrialisation as without it, resources will continue to be exported and sold back to Africa at high prices without employment creation at home.
Monnane said innovation, skills development and inclusiveness are some of the pillars and enablers for industrialisation.
“We need to be innovative so that we are able to survive through other forms of business should our mineral resources, which we depend most on, be depleted one day,” he said.
Monnane said lack of financing and inappropriate policies are some of the challenges of industrialisation.
The workshop preceded the second SADC Industrialisation Week from Monday to Friday under the theme ‘Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains’.
The event is a platform to intensify the engagement and development of partnerships among policy makers, private sector, academia, researchers and other key stakeholders to promote the SADC Industrialisation Strategy at national and regional level.
The first Industrialisation Week was held during the 36th SADC Heads of State and Government Summit in Swaziland in August 2016.

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