Regional trade, industrialisation and peace and security in Southern Africa

Project description

Title: Cooperation for Enhancement of SADC Regional Economic Integration
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Southern African Development Community (SADC): Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Eswatini, Tanzania
Lead executing agency: SADC Secretariat
Overall term: 2018 to 2022



The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is an association of 16 states dedicated to achieving politically stable, socially fair and economically sustainable development in the region. Its overarching objectives are to combat poverty in the region, and to ensure peace, democracy and security across national borders. The SADC member states have considerable economic potential. Their natural resources and the size of the common regional market are important competitive advantages. Around 300 million people live in this area.

However, trade between the SADC countries and with the rest of the world is still largely characterised by the export of unprocessed raw materials. National economies lack the modernisation, competitiveness and diversification of products they need in order to promote closer regional trade. Regional, strategic goals for peace and security are not being implemented consistently. It is therefore difficult for the SADC countries to increase their share of world trade by exporting processed products. The topic of regional integration as a means to improve regional trade gets overshadowed by other more pressing concerns. The work of SADC in the economic sector is therefore dominated by industrialisation in the region and the promotion and facilitation of trade.

SADC is part of the African Governance Architecture, a pan-African agenda intended to promote good governance and democratic development. Although this entails specific measures for governance, their implementation often fails in practice. Resources, knowledge, personnel and initiatives are lacking, and in some cases also the willingness of political decision-makers.


Conditions have improved for economic alignment in the region, in terms of industrialisation, trade and peace and security.


The project aims to improve cooperation between the governments of the member states, the SADC Secretariat and the relevant sector bodies, thereby deepening economic interaction between the member states and exploiting the potential for greater added value at the local level. As such, the countries can achieve higher growth and employment rates for their populations and make an important contribution to poverty reduction.

The project provides technical advice, prepares studies and supports the design process for implementing specific industrialisation measures. This includes, for example, plans to introduce electronic certificates of origin, remove trade barriers and develop proposals to promote agriculture. Through its advisory processes, the project also improves cooperation with representatives of the private sector. GFA Consulting Group delivers advisory services on the trade in services and provides short-term experts for the project.

Since June 2019, the project has also aimed to strengthen democratic governance and citizen participation in the SADC member state Lesotho. In many regions of the mountainous landlocked country, the project cooperates with public sector actors and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in an education initiative jointly financed by the EU and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The objective is to improve dialogue between citizens and policymakers. In this respect, Lesotho is a pilot project which demonstrates how overarching SADC goals for good governance can be pursued in specific terms.


  • Electronic certificates of origin have been developed. Accompanying documents serve as official confirmation of the origin of an export product. The electronic issuing process saves exporters from having to make journeys sometimes of several hundred kilometres. This standard was accepted by the SADC Negotiating Committee in May 2019. It is set to be piloted in Botswana, Eswatini, Malawi, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia.
  • The negotiations on the trade in services in the SADC region have been completed for four areas. The project supported these negotiations in an advisory capacity. The trade ministers accepted proposals related to communication, finance, tourism and transport in the SADC context. Guarantees and conditions encourage companies to invest in the SADC markets. The conditions for cross-border trade in services have been reliably defined in these areas. This has reduced the risks to investments. In Zimbabwe, for example, companies from the SADC region face less restrictive conditions than those promised by Zimbabwe in World Trade Organisation negotiations.
  • In Lesotho, the German support for efforts to strengthen democratic governance and citizen participation in the country has relevance for the SADC region. A successful meeting of actors in the field of political education in mid-June 2019 demonstrated conclusively that there is still growing interest in exchange and cooperation between parliamentarians, academics, the media and civil society. People living in remote mountain areas have now gained access to information and exchange activities. For this purpose, an SMS service was developed that enables citizens to call up information about the services provided by their local government. They can also ask for other information.