Accelerating Industrialisation and Trade in Southern Africa: Key Takeaways from the Southern African Industrialisation Forum

Accelerating Industrialisation and Trade in Southern Africa: Key Takeaways from the Southern African Industrialisation Forum

The Southern African Industrialisation Forum brought together key stakeholders to discuss the landscape and prospects for regional industrialisation. The opening remarks and first plenary session offered invaluable insights into the opportunities, challenges, and strategic priorities for driving economic growth and integration.

Esteemed dignitaries, including Ms Angele Makombo N’Tumba, Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration at the SADC Secretariat, Mr Vicente Soares, Chairperson of the SADC Business Council and President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Angola, and Mr Ousmane Fall, Director of Non-Sovereign Operations and Private Sector at the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), delivered compelling remarks aligned with the SADC Regional Industrialisation & Development Agenda.

The forum highlighted several key areas of focus:

  1. AfCFTA Opportunities: The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) presents significant opportunities for driving industrialization through increased intra-Africa trade. By leveraging competitive advantages and natural resources, countries can enhance production linkages and reap the benefits of regional integration.
  2. Infrastructure Connectivity: Infrastructure development remains crucial for promoting trade and industrialisation. The AfDB is actively supporting strategic regional infrastructure projects to enhance connectivity and facilitate economic growth.
  3. Access to Finance: Financial access remains a challenge, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Efforts are underway to increase lending through local financial institutions and targeted credit facilities, coupled with advisory services and business support.
  4. Skills Development: Job creation and skills development are vital for supporting industrialisation. Various programs for technical training, youth employment, and SME incubation are being implemented.
  5. Policy Harmonisation: Implementation of protocols and policies for greater harmonization is essential. Private sector advocacy is key to driving reforms that enable business and integration, paving the way for sustainable economic growth.
  6. Technology Adoption: Technology adoption can drive trade facilitation, although uptake remains gradual. Supporting digital solutions for payment systems and trade platforms can streamline processes and enhance efficiency.

The session underscored the importance of political will, private sector partnerships, and leveraging the AfCFTA to advance the industrialization agenda in Southern Africa. Collaboration among stakeholders, including governments, regional bodies, development partners, and the private sector, is crucial to addressing the challenges and seizing the opportunities for sustainable economic growth through industrialization and trade.

The 𝐡𝐲𝐛𝐫𝐢𝐝 event was sponsored by the African Development Bank GroupAfrican Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank)BADEA – Arab Bank for Economic Development in AfricaBanco SOLNestléThe Coca-Cola Company, and the Graça Machel Trust.

We would like to thank all who attended and our speakers, suppliers and staff who made this event a resounding success. Let’s continue to work together to drive tangible impact and accelerate industrialisation, trade, and investment across our region.

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Previous Southern African Industrialisation Forum – 26-27 Feb 2024 – Sandton Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa

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