PRETORIA– The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of Ministers which met here this week has successfully deliberated on several issues of importance to the sub-region, says South African International Relations and Co-operation Lindiwe Sisulu, who hosed the two-day meeting.

The two-day meeting of foreign ministers from the 16-nation sub-regional bloc had reviewed the implementation of summit decisions and budget for the year ahead and deliberated on priority programmes contained in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan 2015-2020 (RISDP); the Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ (SIPO II); and the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063.

The Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015�2063 aims to accelerate the momentum towards strengthening the comparative and competitive advantages of the economies in the sub-region.

Briefing the media after the meeting ended on Tuesday, Sisulu said the Council noted the achievements recorded across the SADC priority areas of industrial development and market integration; infrastructure support for regional integration; peace and security; special programmes of regional dimension; cross-cutting issues as well as corporate services and institutional reforms and commended the SADC secretariat for the significant improvement in both output implementation rate and budget utilization rates.

The council noted the progress made on the implementation of the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap for 2017/18, which include the identification, profiling and commencement of the development of value chains in the pharmaceutical, minerals and agro-processing sectors,” she added.

[The council] directed Secretariat to convene meetings to assist member states with negotiating and developing value chains in leather, soya, aquaculture, iron and steel, copper, cement and manufacturing of ARVs, malaria medicines and mosquito bed nets.”

The council also noted the progress made towards the operationalisation of the SADC University of Transformation, which will contribute towards capacity building in the region, as well as deliver educational training using the vocational education training model.