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Regional and National Economic Integration Challenges for SADC and the SADC countries

By Ben Uugwanga
Allow me to share some thoughts on the issue of Regional and the National Economic Challenges needing policy makerís treatment to enable our lovely continent to become a global force and trend setter in its own right. Some of the suggestions listed in this letter might be enshrined in policy directives of certain governments which in my view is an excellent commendable development.

Since the political formation of the Southern African Development Community from a Coordination Movement, to a Cooperation Body, Regional Integration remains something that should be pursued with vigor in order to make it a reality at least within the mediumterm. The SADC region is one of the wealthiest regions in the world and to top it up it boasts with a stable macro-economic environment including the movement towards sustaining strong institutions and promoting techno-centric institutional Cont on page 5 Regional and National Economic Integration Challenges for SADC and the SADC countries capacities. In addition the community boasts with a well developed infrastructure and is challenged to promote and attain the objectives of providing optimum pro-poor service delivery to all.

In as much as the African Union strives to achieve continental integration of all the Economic Groupings, a drive towards such an initiative should be accompanied by the passion at regional and continental level to:

Promote Intra-African Trade. Adopt a single currency and advocate for the return to the gold standard as a system to determine currency values. The current currency values of hegemonic powers are based on perceptions created by currency valuators within the International Monetary Fund and their associates. It is based on voodoo economics tricknology theories and does not reflect the real economic value of a state based on a criteria of strategic resource endowment. Should the latter criteria be considered Africa which is rich in strategic resources would be lifted out of the poverty chain and in no way be an economic under dog.

Harmonise Investment Laws and customs excise systems. Promote complementarities of efforts and national specialization based on the comparative advantages of the different member countries.

Promote Public Private Partnership Ventures that refrain from promoting benefits to individuals but which are based on regional objectives or a quid pro-quo relation between contracting parties so that the strong should not disadvantage the weak partner in terms of depriving the weak to achieve future generational gains.

Promote Cooperation in sustainable power generation ventures including seeking to optimize the potential of the Inga Hydro Power Project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo through a Public and Private Partnership Venture and within the interest of Regional Economic Cooperation. Promote quality based infrastructural development in order to ease the cost of doing business.

Promote Joint-Ventures between African Entrepreneurs and Foreign Companies in order to tap from their expertise and attract their technology. Promote technological innovations through Technological Development Centres and the advancement of Research and Development at learning institutions. Promote Eco-friendly technologies and energy generation technologies such as solar power, air propelled engines, wind power and hydro-engines.

Promote Afro-optimism anchored on Best Practice Standards augmented with high and efficient based technical ingenuity used to modify, appropriate and build on the strength of local technological expertise and needs. This also means investing in Afro-centric fashion design, arts and music through efforts that promote a cross-pollination of ideas that can be adapted to local needs and realities.

Promote a culture of human rights and pluralism anchored on peace-building and harmony construction programmes.

Nationally the following should be propped up by governments:

Promote a Participatory Democratic Culture driven by a Servant-hood Leadership Model based on Christian-centric Leadership Foundations. Maximise and Promote Human Capital Development in line with the comparative advantages of the key driving sectors of the economy. Promote Life Long Learning through a Learning Culture that is willing to learn, relearn and unlearn in order to adjust to new realities in line with wisdom based Policy Argumentations and Best Practices.

Re-organise and restructure or close shop of State Owned Enterprises which fail to comply with the requirements of a bankruptcy system which by definition is the inability to generate profits but serve to provide lucrative salaries to executives.

An exception to the rule is to spare those institutions which provide essential services in the interest of the countryís long-term developmental objectives and whose essential services in areas such as health, housing, education and training and information dissemination need to be subsidised.

Promote local participation in the management, control and ownership of strategic resources through companies in which the state has an equal stake or majority stake in order for the profits generated by such an entity to be channeled to where the greatest development needs lies.

Promote human capital development in line with the opportunities in the job market and in line with the long-term economic strategic objectives of the country.

Promote Green Schemes and local value addition to food processing in order to supply affordable food-stuff to the local market.

Promote Small and Medium Enterprises through entrepreneurial mentorship programmes and micro-credit support initiatives. Promote organic farming and organic food production. Prioritise on the provision of adequate and affordable housing for all.

Promote the enforcement of social control measures to promote integrity and curb crime and accelerate the mentorship of the youth alongside Christian- centric norms and values in order to inculcate ethical behavior, hard work, tolerance, proaction, assertiveness and assiduousness, through institutions of socialisation.

I personally believe that the above suggestions offer a propensity for the region to make a quantum leap towards achieving sustainable socio-economic development as opposed to the trial and error dangers incremental solutions stand to offer.

God Bless Africa!!





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