Zambia will host the 20thsession of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE) for southern Africa in March.
The ICE under the theme 'Making natural resources work for Inclusive growth and sustainable development in Southern Africa' will take place under the auspices of the Zambian Government from 5-7 March, 2014 in the City of Livingstone, Zambia's tourist capital. Eleven SADC and COMESA member States are expected to participate in the meeting which convenes yearly to discuss topical economic and social developments in the region. This year, the meeting will focus on inclusive growth owing to the region's impressive economic performance, its bountiful natural resources and how this can translate into employment and sustainable development.
The Southern Africa region is among the fastest growing regions, mirroring continental patterns with four of its countries among the ten fastest growing economies in Africa. Richly endowed with arable land, diverse forest resources, fresh water rivers and mineral resources, the sub region is forecast to grow by as much as 5.3 percent in 2014 after growing by 4.9 percent in 2013, 4.0 percent in 2012 and 3.5 percent in 2011.
Over 50 percent of the Gross Domestic Product of SADC member States is derived from the exploitation of natural resources based primarily on agriculture, mining, forestry and wildlife productive activities. These resources account for the flourishing agricultural sector, a diversified minerals industry, large forestry and fisheries sectors and an unparalleled renewable energy potential in the sub region.
The ICE 20thsession will be preceded by an expert group meeting constituted under the same theme. Industry leaders in the areas of natural resources including Regional Economic Communities, the private sec tor, senior government officials, intergovernmental organisations and researches will discuss findings of a study on the same subject. The meeting will make recommendations to the ICE.
During the ICE, member States will also review and discuss a report on social and economic conditions in Southern Africa in 2013.
The ICE is a UN General Assembly statutory body for ECA's five regional offices. The Southern Africa Office is made up of representatives from SADC and COMESA member countries, and Intergovernmental Organisations of the sub‐region.
The ICE constitutes an integral part of ECA's governance machinery and meets annually to consider, provide guidance and endorse the overall formulation and implementation of ECA Southern Africa Regional Office's programme of work in line with priorities of the sub-regions.
The 19th sessions of ICE was graciously hosted by the Government of Zimbabwe focusing on Industrialization while the Government of Mauritius hosted the 18th Session which looked at tourism.
The themes of industrialization, tourism and natural resources are anchored on the forecast that Southern Africa will continue being boosted by the exploitation of mineral resources, including new oil fields, agriculture, fisheries, the information sector and tourism.