THE Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is working on programmes to assist the less developed member countries including Lesotho to improve their economies and promote industrial development.
This was revealed by Motena Tsolo, who represented Lesotho at the recent 5th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of SACU, which was held in Lozitha, Swaziland last week.
SACU is the world’s oldest customs union and it consists of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland.
The purpose of the recent summit was to consider a Report of the Council of Ministers on the progress made on the implementation of the roadmap to reinvigorate the SACU Work Programme which was endorsed by the summit on 12 November 2015 in Windhoek, Namibia.
The summit highlighted the value of SACU as an organisation, in developing regional economic integration, industrialisation and economic diversification of SACU economies as a common goal, while also allowing SACU to take advantage of regional and global economic developments through its work programme.
“The aim of the summit was to find ways that all member states could achieve economic growth and increase industrialisation to benefit all member states of SACU,” Ms Tsolo said in an interview with the Lesotho Times.
“The implementation of the SACU work programme is crucial to the economic development of Lesotho as it foresees the development of cross-border projects that will give Lesotho a chance to collaborate with the other member states, thus increasing industrialisation, creating new jobs and increasing business opportunities.”
Ms Tsolo also said it was observed that SACU economies were experiencing comparable economic challenges, which could be better dealt with in a cohesive and collaborative manner among the member states.
In this regard, the summit directed the Ministerial Task Teams to prioritise industrial development and develop concrete cross-border projects to promote industrialisation and ensure that the region is able to enhance economic benefits to withstand global economic shocks.
Ms Tsolo further said the summit presented a good opportunity to enhance economic cooperation between all the SACU member countries.