The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) has decried the continued exportation of raw exports by member States to the international export market which it says is making the region vulnerable to external shocks.
Outgoing Sadc executive secretary Tomaz Augusto Salomao said this on Saturday when he addressed the 33rd ordinary summit of heads of State and government at the Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC).
Said Salomao: “Sadc economies are reliant on the exportation of raw commodities which is making the region vulnerable to external shocks.”
He noted that although Sadc is recovering from the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, the pace of recovery still remains slow due to the continued reliance of raw exports by Sadc economies, among other factors.
Salomao recalled that the region only grew by an average of 4.4 percent last year which he said is below the real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate target of seven percent.
Coincidentally, last year, Malawi also struggled to sustain its real growth rate, as the country grew by 1.8 percent against an earlier projection of 4.3 percent, dampened by a slump in tobacco production, among other variables.
According to Salomao, Sadc also marginally performed well in the area of investment as the trade bloc attained an investment inflow of 26 percent of GDP as compared to an inflow of 25 percent of GDP in 2011.
“There is need for member states to diversify their economies in order to lessen shocks from the global market,” he added.
He, however, banked hopes on the implementation of the Sadc Industrialisation Policy Framework, saying the policy will be a tool to solve most economic challenges facing Sadc states.
On her part, President Joyce Banda, in her acceptance speech as Sadc chairperson, said in general Africa is a continent on the move but said the economic downturn of recent years has highlighted the vulnerability of African economies to external shocks.
“We need to intensify our efforts towards regional integration in every sense, reminding ourselves that as we strengthen the ties that bind us, we build our resilience against future shocks,” she said.