President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana on Tuesday urged members of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) to work together in finding solutions to global challenges.
SACU countries, namely Botswana, South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho and Namibia, continue to face social and economic impacts of COVID-19, which resulted in the overall weighted growth contraction of 6.3 percent in 2020 for the region compared to a positive growth of 0.3 percent in 2019, according to Masisi.
In his remarks during the SACU investment roundtable in Gaborone, Botswana’s capital, Masisi said life was filled with harrowing experiences such as the closure of many businesses resulting in losses of jobs and incomes for workers and reduced corporate tax revenues for governments within the SACU region.
Masisi, however, said the challenges arising from the pandemic also present an opportunity for the region to create and develop production capacity that will fill the commodity gaps and allow for increased production in the affected sectors.
“Therefore, it is of critical importance for SACU members to work together to advance regional integration’s objectives and find solutions to these global problems and challenges facing us,” said Masisi.
SACU, established in 1910, is the oldest existing customs union in the world.
While stressing that SACU has a common vision to advance work on industrialization to take advantage of the opportunities created by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Masisi said industrialization has proven to be a catalyst for the development of many economies since investment allows for the generation of employment opportunities and provides educational prospects and better utilization of the existing resources. Enditem