Mbabane: South Africa’s Finance Minister Tito Mbowenichaired the fourth joint Finance and Trade Ministers’ virtual Ministerial Retreat meeting on September 21.
According to South African online publication, Engineering News, the participating Ministers agreed on refined development priorities for the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) given the changing global and regional developments that have impacted on the union; as well as agreed on activities that could be prioritised for SACU going forward and their sequencing.
Ministers observed that much disagreement remains around issues involving the revenue sharing formula (RSF) and tariff setting architecture, respectively.
However, in the spirit of unity, they were unanimous that specific attention should be put on those issues that would propel SACU forward.
The Retreat noted the long-term impact of the pandemic on the SACU common resource pool.
It also agreed to work jointly to implement the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
Lastly, it noted that SACU’s development trajectory should be anchored on a clear industrialisation path that provides for the development of regional value chains to strengthen SACU’s productive capacity.
As a result, there was strong support for SACU member States to work together through a regional coordinated approach to advance industrialisation, trade markets access regionally and continentally, and to strengthen resources mobilisation.
In this regard, the Retreat affirmed the outcomes of the SACU Ministers of Trade and Industry of August 28 as forming the basis for cooperation for this.
Ministers also acknowledged that trade and industrialisation would require financial resources.
Going forward, they said SACU must design appropriate and effective financing instruments by mobilising national development finance institutions and private sector enterprises.
Ministers committed to finalise a clear roadmap and strategy within the next six months to advance a streamlined SACU work programme through efficient institutional processes.