South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says it is pivotal that the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) achieve its mandate if Southern Africa’s economies are to withstand the “seismic shifts” that the global economy is now going through.
Ramaphosa was speaking at the 8th SACU Heads of State and Government Summit held in the Kingdom of Eswatini on Thursday.
“As the UN Conference on Trade and Development noted earlier this year, food and energy crises, surging inflation, debt tightening, and the climate emergency are all contributing to one of the lowest rates of global economic growth in decades.
“As the Southern African Customs Union, it is critical that we fulfil our mandate if we are to withstand these global shocks and mitigate their impact on our respective countries,” he said.
Furthermore, he outlined the tools which the customs union can utilise to ensure the development of the five member states’ economies.
“South Africa believes that spatial development initiatives, industrialisation, exports and investment promotion and regional manufacturing linkages will enable our countries to diversify our economies. It will also enable us to take advantage of opportunities opened up by the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“For this to happen, we should prioritise economic infrastructure, especially scaling up renewable energy capacity, roads and railways, ports and airports, telecommunications and water infrastructure,” he added.
Ramaphosa also pointed out that the member countries are well equipped to take advantage of opportunities in the market and raise the continent’s global trade share.