Southern Africa: Economic Performance By SACU Members Remains Subdued - Schlettwein

The economic performance by the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) members remains subdued with most countries projected to grow by between 0.5% and 4.2% in 2019, according to Finance Minister and Chairperson of the SACU Council of Ministers, Calle Schlettwein.

Schlettwein highlighted this during the 38th Meeting of the SACU Council of Ministers which took place in Windhoek this week.

"However some Member States are expected to experience contraction mainly largely due to weak domestic demand, sluggish investment and declining exports," he added.

According to Schlettwein in light of the challenging economic environment, it is important for SACU to continue with the implementation of measures or programmes that seek to promote domestic resilience and long-term inclusive economic growth.

"I noted with admiration that in our National Budgets and national development plans frontload the implementation of policy intervention measures and structural policy reforms to support inclusive and sustainable growth," he added.

Meanwhile, Schlettwein on the trade front, said he is pleased to note that the inaugural Meeting of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Council of Ministers responsible for Trade was held on 24 to 25 October 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

"This signaled a key milestone towards the operationalization of AfCFTA which will provide our business community with an increase in markets across the continent," he added.

Schlettwein then congratulated the SACU Trade Ministers for the successful negotiations with the recently concluded Economic Partnership Agreement between and amongst United Kingdom, SACU Member States and Mozambique.

"This Agreement will ensure that there is continuity in terms of trade between the UK and SACU and avert potential disruptions of trade with the SACU region. In this regard, I commend you Ministers for providing the political leadership and support to this process," he said, urging them to continue providing such collective leadership for SACU to be ready for the commencement of the implementation.

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