Eswatini Daily News

By Ntombi Mhlongo

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has stepped up efforts to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) to the region.

This was evident when the organisation participated at the 12th Edition of the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) Global 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) where it showcased its programmes and projects to various key decision-makers and businesses who are willing to engage in sustainable partnerships, and benefit from a variety of features aimed at facilitating strategic networking and promote the SADC Region as the most attractive zone for business and investments in Africa.

According to the organisation’s website, approximately 100 investors visited the SADC Exhibition booth and 12 Member States of Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, and Zimbabwe attended the AIM Global 2023.

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The SADC Secretarial held the SADC Regional Focus Forum at the 12th Edition of AIM Global 2023 to attract FDI under the theme “Infrastructure Development in Support of Industrialisation and Regional Integration”.

The forum hosted two High-Level Panel discussions on Coordination and Investment Opportunities for Unlocking the Development of Regional Infrastructure Projects; and on Industrial and Value Chains Development.

The panel discussions were led by eminent speakers who presented on various topics in their fields of expertise, with the aim of attracting FDI to the Region.

Over 50 investors attended the SADC Regional Focus Forum, including the SADC Ambassadors from the D RC, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe based in the UAE, as well as the Secretary-General of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS).

SADC adopted the Protocol on Finance and Investment in 2006 to foster investment in the Region. The Protocol outlines SADC policy on investment, encouraging Member States to enact strategies to attract investors and implement legislation that creates a favourable environment for investment.

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The SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap and its Action Plan call for deeper integration to facilitate an increased inflow of FDI and integration into global value chains. Moreover, it calls on Member States to implement investment-friendly policies to attract FDI resources to increase productive capacity and facilitate technological and skills transfers.

SADC Member States made concrete steps to improve their investment climate and have started working towards ensuring that investment supports industrialisation and Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) development. According to World Bank, the Region has an average of 20 per cent foreign investment restrictiveness, implying an 80 per cent liberalization/attractiveness.

Attracting investment is central to the development and integration agenda of SADC, she said, and improving the investment and business environment to attract higher levels of investments, coupled with investment cooperation activities among the private sector and Member States helps the Region to realise the SADC goals of deep regional integration, industrialisation, and infrastructure development.

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