Windhoek-The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat, based in Windhoek, last week launched the SADC Trade Related Facility (TRF). Officiating at the launch, Minister of Trade, Industrialisation and SME Development, Tjekero Tweya, confirmed that Namibia has already commenced with the implementation of the European Union (EU) SADC Trade Related Facility (TRF) project.
“This launch is geared towards improving Namibia’s regional disposition and to enhance trade-related activities with the EU. It’s for this reason that Namibia signed the Contribution Agreement with EU/SADC as one of the 12 member states to benefit from the SADC TRF Project,” said Tweya when launching the project. The TRF project is meant to strengthen the process of regional integration following the commitments undertaken by the SADC member states under the SADC Protocol on Trade (STP). Also, the TRF project seeks to assist with the effective implementation and monitoring of the SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the view to enhance its potential benefits, particularly in terms of improved market access of Namibian goods and services to the European Union.
The successful signing of the financial agreement between the Republic of Namibia and the SADC Secretariat stipulates that a total of €2.6 million is to be availed of which €1.4 million is provided under the STP window and €1.2 million under the EPA window. The financial agreement and the finalisation of an operational framework for the TRF Project was signed on July 24, 2017, and December 4, 2017, respectively.
Tweya explained that among the specific interventions which the project will expedite under the STP window include; the assessment in implementing the Industrial Upgrading and Modernisation Programme (IUMP) and the identifications of its institutional redesign and financing; the Development and Implementation of targeted programmes to enhance productivity and competitiveness of firms, including participation in regional value chains; the improvement of the trade ministry to formulate and implement industrial policy and strategies; the development of a demand-driven approach to industrial development; as well as the implementation of business processes of key agencies involved in the National Single Window (NSW) system.
The SADC TRF is expected to assist in the enhancement of the Automated System for Customs Data world systems to intersect with the NSW systems. The TRF, under the EPA window, will also support enhancing the capacity for effective implementation of the Rules of Origin. Furthermore, the TRF will interlink with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to improve the sanitary phytosanitary (SPS) environment and related standards, focusing on enhanced compliance of the competent authority on animal and plant health as well as fisheries. “The Project is envisaged to aid in enhancing private sector awareness of the opportunities from the SADC-EU-EPA. Additionally, the TRF will work to strengthen the capacity in Competition Policy and Law, focusing on improving the institutional and regulatory framework of the Namibia Competition Commission thereby improving stakeholders’ compliance with the Competition Policy and Law,” said Tweya. He added that the SADC TRF project would contribute towards the capacity development of Namibia to participate in trade in services liberalisation under the SADC Protocol on Trade in Services and the SADC-EU-EPA. “The Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development believes that the projects being identified and developed by our own beneficiary units will result in positive outcomes as Namibia aims to improve her participation in regional and international trade. This denotes an essential part of growing at home through the ‘Growth at Home’ strategy. On that note, I hereby wish to express our sincere appreciation on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Namibian to the EU and SADC Executive for their financial and technical support,” Tweya stated.