Southern African Customs Union (SACU) has made it a priority to tap into the agro processing, textile and clothing industries in order to propel its mandate and become an industrial and innovation hub for the African region.
This was said by President Mokgweetsi Masisi while officiating at the SACU Investment Roundtable on Tuesday.
President Masisi who is also the chairperson of SACU said the regional bloc has a common vision to advance work in industrialization in order to take advantage of opportunities available.
“The identified priority sectors offer immense and credible opportunities for the development of regional value chains across the SACU region,” he said.
According to Masisi, the trade deficit for textiles and clothing sectors between SACU and the world, measured to US$8 Billion and US$3.3 billion in 2020 respectively.
Further the cosmetics and essential oils sector also amounted to R17.66 billion and R6.2 billion correspondingly.
When it comes to agro-processing, SACU region produces close to 3.6 million tonnes, representing 1.1 percent of the world’s total meat production.
On the other hand, leather and leather products amounted to R25.9 billion in imports in 2018 against exports valued at R11.9 billion therefore creating a trade deficit of R13.9 billion.
“The region has comparative advantage in the production of essential oils as demonstrated by the existing capabilities and capacities to cultivate harvest and produce oils like eucalyptus, rosehip and morula among others.
Agro-processing also provides a unique opportunity for the region given its abundant resources and raw materials,” said President Masisi.
SACU was formed in 1910 with the main aim to enhance the economic development, diversification, industrialization and competitiveness of the five member states.
As of now SACU’s membership comprises Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa.