He said SACU needs to move beyond its colonial history and architecture into an arrangement that facilitate growth of the region.
President Jacob Zuma concluded his visit to the Kingdom of Swaziland on Friday, where he attended the fifth Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) Summit Heads of State and Government.
Zuma appealed to the member states of SACU to advance intra-trade relations in the region.
Zuma said it would “help ease the burden of poverty and unemployment facing many people across the countries that are part of the union”.
“I would like to like to also thank the Council of Ministers for having laid the foundation to facilitate the development of SACU economies, SACU needs to move beyond its colonial history and architecture into an arrangement that facilitate growth of the region” Zuma said in a statement.
SACU consists of South Africa, Naminia, Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland.
Zuma was accompanied by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and Deputy Finance Minister Sifiso Buthelezi.
The Presidency said that the purpose of the Summit was for the heads of state and governments to consider the Report of the council, on the progress made on the implementation of the Roadmap to reinvigorate the SACU Work Programme endorsed by Heads of State and Government on 12th November 2015, in Windhoek, Namibia.
“The summit endorsed the Work Programme based on the outcomes of the 3rd Ministerial Retreat which outlines detailed activities, key deliverables and the timelines within which the proposed activities will be undertaken.”
The Presidency said that the summit focused on the review and development of a suitable architecture for tariff-setting, rebates, duty drawbacks and trade remedies; the review of the revenue Sharing Formula and the long-term management of the Common Revenue Pool; the establishment of Stabilisation Fund and exploring the feasibility of a financing Mechanism for regional industrialisation; identifying financing options for regional projects; and the development of public policy interventions to promote and align industrial development and value chains.
The summit also focused on the negotiations for the review of the 2002 SACU Agreement, to facilitate the development of SACU economies and emphasised the common challenges experienced by SACU economies that can be better dealt with in an integrated manner regionally.
“The Summit agreed on the establishment of two Ministerial Task Teams on Trade and Industry and on Finance with their Terms of Reference, to facilitate the urgent implementation of the Work Programme,” the Presidency said.
Botswana will be the Chair of SACU effective from July 2017 to 14 July 2018, taking over from the Kingdom of Swaziland.