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SACU leaders agree to revamp union

Staff Writer
Southern African Customs Union (SACU) heads of state and government have agreed that the customs union should be transformed into a vehicle for economic integration capable of promoting equitable development.

Chaired by South African President Jacob Zuma and attended by President Ian Khama, King Mswati of Swaziland, Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba and Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, the meeting took place in South Africa last week.

The summit was meant to reflect on the achievements and challenges, as well as to deliberate on the future strategic direction of SACU, in view of the recent regional and global developments. According to a communiquŽ from SACU, the heads of state and government recalled the outcome of the centenary summit and expressed satisfaction with the successful launch of the  commemoration of SACU's 100 years of existence. They recalled the new vision for SACU to be an economic community with equitable and sustainable development, dedicated to the welfare of its people for a common future that was adopted and signed on April 22, 2010 in Windhoek, Namibia. The leaders observed that over the past 100 years, SACU has been confronted with several challenges, which necessitated its continuous adaptation.

The regional leaders considered the union's achievements and the internal and external challenges currently facing the organisation.  "Current challenges and strategic opportunities require that we do things in a different way to the benefit of all members of SACU," they reaffirmed. 

Accordingly, the heads of state and government directed the ministers to develop strategies to promote win-win solutions to address, among others, the strengthening of capacity in the secretariat. Other challenges to be looked at include developing the necessary policies and

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procedures to conclude the establishment of institutions. 

Ensuring that all work on industrial policy, agricultural policy, competition policy, unfair trade practices and other priority commitments in the SACU Agreement are being implemented. Developing a SACU trade and tariff policy and trade strategy that supports industrialisation in SACU and developing deliberate initiatives to promote intra-SACU trade. Following the principle of unified engagement among SACU member states in trade negotiations with third parties, while recongising different levels of development and capacity of member states. Exploring the possibility of a review of the 2002 SACU Agreement.
Developing SACU positions on new generation issues, taking into account ongoing negotiations.

Consideration of the sharing of SACU revenue and positioning SACU at the centre of the regional economic integration agenda. The regional leaders recognised that despite the challenges, SACU has played and continues to play an important role in the economies of its Member States.  They further recognised the role that SACU can play in the region as a building block for deeper regional integration, given its level of integration. The heads of state and government congratulated South Africa on its successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.   They expressed their appreciation to the government and people of South Africa for the warm hospitality extended by the country in hosting the inaugural meeting of the SACU. heads of state and government.

The leaders of the SACU member states have agreed to meet again by the end of October.



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