South African companies to invest $500m in southern Africa

South African companies will invest up to $500 million in countries in the South African Development Community (SADC).

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced at the weekend following the conclusion of the 38th Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the SADC in Windhoek, in Namibia.

South Africa was the chair of the region between August last year and until this month. Hence, Ramaphosa, as the outgoing chair of SADC, reported to the Summit the work of the regional body for the duration of South Africa’s tenure guided by its tenure theme, “Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains”.

He noted that during South Africa’s tenure as SADC Chair, $500 million was secured of committed productive investments by South African companies in each of the priority value chains across the region, including forestry, agriculture and agro-processing, fertiliser, mining and mineral processing, and pharmaceuticals.

“We therefore need to ensure that we create a conducive environment for business to thrive, and to deepen our engagement with the private sector. Collaboration with the private sector is important not only in designing SADC regional strategies and initiatives, but also in identifying impediments to greater regional economic integration,” Ramaphosa said.

The Summit marked the 26th anniversary of the adoption of the SADC Treaty, which was signed on 17 August 1992, and laid the foundation for the formation of SADC.

Ramaphosa handed over to Namibia President, Hage Geingob as chairman of SADC.

The SADC was established in 1992. Its objective is to achieve economic development, growth, peace and security through regional integration. Although, it planned to have created a customs union by 2010, the regional bloc was only able to implement a free trade area. Intra-SADC trade accounts for only 15 to 17 percent of the member states’ trade portfolio, with most countries still predominantly trading according to colonial ties.