Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) has drafted a policy on industrialisation which will guide the region towards self-sustained growth and improve competitiveness in the bloc.
Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya during the draft presentation and discussion at the 34th meeting of inter-Government Committee in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said: “The Industrialisation policy was developed after a public-private dialogue organised by the committee on industry which met earlier this month in Lusaka.”
“The draft policy is meant to address the economic transformation of the Comesa region through an inclusive and sustainable industrialisation based on value addition, local content and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) participation in the national, regional and global supply chain,” Mr Ngwenya noted.
Further, the policy is meant to promote manufacturing through agro processing, leather products, cotton and garments, mineral development, light engineering and pharmaceuticals.
Other sectors could also be developed based on the comparative advantage at the national level.
Once implemented, member states are expected to improve the regulatory environment, provide supportive basic infrastructure, grant appropriate incentives to attract labour intensive industries and to address the unemployment challenge.
The policy will also consider the need for improving other related policies such as fiscal, competition, environment and climate change plus laws on special economic zones.
The policy document
The document further notes that export of raw materials, with little value added, and with few forward or backward linkages to the rest of the economy, and a reliance on high commodity prices, has resulted in this jobless growth for the region.