Policy Development and Research
Regional Integration is a subject of growing importance for the Southern African region as a whole, including the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Organization. This topic has been on the agenda for Southern Africa for the past half century and the need for a collective effort remains an important ingredient towards deepening Regional Integration.
There are a number of areas and challenges that face the Regional Integration initiatives for Southern Africa These include:
- The establishment of Common Policies in a number of areas including, industrial, agriculture and competition policies.
- The Convergence of Trade related policies.
- Comprehensive economic surveillance and greater policy coordination.
- Transport and communication infrastructure.
- Strengthening the provision of regional public goods and commodities.
The debates about Regional Integration Arrangements in Southern Africa have intensified over the last two years. This has been mainly as a result of developments that have taken place within the Region and Globally.
Being the oldest functional Customs Union in the world. SACU has advanced its integration further than what is required in a Customs Union, it does not only have a Common External Tariff but currently four of its Members are cooperating in the Common Monetary Area (CMA), and it is currently engaged in activities to further integrate the economies of its Member States.
SACU has a legal framework to achieve deeper integration. To further deepen SACU’s integration, the new SACU Agreement provides for the development of common industrial policy, and a policy of unfair trade practices. It also provides for cooperation in Agriculture Policies and Competition Policies. In addition it provides for a Common Negotiating Mechanism with respect to trade Negotiations with third parties.
To address the Challenge for deeper Regional Integration, the SACU Council of Ministers, which is the supreme decision making authority of SACU matters, has set up a Task Team consisting of SACU Senior Officials in Trade and Industry as well as Finance.
Several Studies have been commissioned in this area. The primary mandate of the SACU Task Team is to address issues of accelerating the implementation for the 2002 SACU Agreement and to advise Council on issues and Challenges for deeper Regional Integration.