The Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the European Union (EU) have formally launched the implementation of projects valued at 31.6 million Euros.
The projects were launched under the Trade Related Facility (TRF), which was established through a contribution agreement between the EU and SADC in 2014.
The objective of the TRF is to improve the participation of SADC Member States in regional and international trade in order to contribute to sustainable development within the SADC region.
Projects being supported by the TRF mainly focus on customs cooperation, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, rules of origin, trade facilitation, industrial development, trade promotion and development, and trade in services. In addition, there are specific areas that relate to the EPA Window, namely trade defence instruments, trade related adjustment and competition policy.
In his remarks, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade of the Kingdom of Swaziland, Jabulani Mabuza, thanked the EU for the tireless support rendered to SADC Member States in the promotion of regional integration and in improving the lives of SADC citizens.
SADC Director of Policy Planning and Resource Mobilisation, Mubita Luwabelwa, expressed SADC's commitment to the implementation of the Trade Related Facility projects in the member states in order to make the TRF a critical instrument to further economic integration across the region.
EU representative John Taylor reiterated the EU financial commitment to supporting projects which promote regional integration.
Taylor thanked the 12 SADC Member States benefiting from the TRF funding for their unwavering cooperation and collaboration.
The SADC member states that have signed and ratified the SADC Protocol on Trade and are benefitting from the TRF are Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Ministerial Double Troika
Meanwhile, the Ministerial Double Troika met ahead of the Double Troika Summit and the 37th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government in Tshwane.
The Ministerial Double Troika discussed the security situation in the Kingdom of Lesotho.
The Ministerial Double Troika was attended by the Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania and the Kingdom of Swaziland on Tuesday.
The Ministerial Double Troika received a presentation on the current security situation in the Kingdom of Lesotho.
Among others they reiterated SADC's support to the new Lesotho government was work towards ensuring a lasting peace, security and stability.
They also expressed concern at the slow progress in the implementation of SADC decisions, and urged the government to submit a clear time-bound roadmap.
The roadmap, according to SADC, must have a clear time-bounds on the implementation of the SADC decisions, in terms of the reforms of the constitutional, parliamentary, judicial, public service and security sector), as well as the recommendations of the SADC Commission of Inquiry.