Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), Friday, 25 March 2011 in Pretoria, South Africa
- The Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) was held on Friday, 25 March 2011 in Pretoria, South Africa. The main purpose of the Summit was for the Heads of State and Government to consider progress made in addressing the challenges identified at the last Summit held in July 2010, and to develop a SACU approach towards future engagements on the proposed COMESA-SADC-EAC Tripartite Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
- The Summit was chaired by His Excellency President Jacob Zuma of the Republic of South Africa and was attended by His Majesty, King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland, His Excellency Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of the Republic of Namibia, the Right Honourable the Prime Minister Pakalitha Bethuel Mosisili of the Kingdom of Lesotho, and His Honour Dr. Ponatshego Honorious Kedikilwe, the Acting Vice President of the Republic of Botswana.
- The Summit recalled that at their Meeting held on the 22nd April 2010, in Windhoek, Namibia, the Heads of State and Government adopted a new Vision for SACU “To be an economic community with equitable and sustainable development, dedicated to the welfare of its people for a common future”.
- The Summit endorsed five priority areas in SACU’s work programme focusing on: i) Regional industrial development policy; ii) Review of the Revenue Sharing Arrangement; iii) Trade facilitation; iv) Development of SACU institutions; and v) Unified engagement in trade negotiations. The Summit agreed that the outstanding priority areas will be addressed in due course.
- The Summit agreed that regional industrialisation shall be an overarching objective in the SACU work programme. The aim of regional industrialisation should be to promote balanced, equitable and sustainable regional economic growth, development and integration. The Summit noted that cross border collaboration in specific sectors has commenced and this work is ongoing. The Summit further noted that progress had been achieved with respect to the development of regional industrial policy.
- The Summit recognised the importance of facilitating trade across borders in SACU. As such, the Summit endorsed a regional trade facilitation programme focussing on Information Technology Interconnectivity; Stronger Enforcement; Improved Border Efficiencies; Partnerships with Traders; the development of similar Customs Legislation; and the establishment of One Stop Border Posts.
- The Summit noted progress with respect to amendments to the SACU Agreement that would be necessary to institutionalise regular meetings of SACU Heads of State and Government.
- The Summit noted that work on establishing common institutions is ongoing, notably the Tribunal and Tariff Board.
- The Summit noted the principles and guidelines to ensure that SACU negotiates with third parties on the basis of common positions.
- The Summit reiterated that the review of the Revenue Sharing Arrangement is critical particularly in the context of the volatility of the customs revenues. The Summit directed that this work be pursued and concluded urgently in line with the equitable and development objectives embedded in the SACU Agreement.
- The Summit acknowledged the importance of the COMESA-SADC-EAC Tripartite initiative to establish a Free Trade Area among the three economic communities. This will extend markets in line with the objectives of the Abuja Treaty for economic integration in Africa. The Summit decided that SACU should advance a coordinated position in these negotiations. South Africa’s hosting of the next Tripartite Summit was welcomed.
- The Summit expressed its appreciation to the Government and People of the Republic of South Africa for the warm hospitality extended and for hosting the Summit of the SACU Heads of State and Government.
- Done at the Presidential Guest House, Pretoria in the Republic of South Africa on Friday 25th March 2011.
For further information contact Sidwell Medupe: Director Media Relations and Publicity on telephone (012) 394 1650/ 079 492 1774 or via e-mail: MSMedupe@thedti.gov.za