“The assessment shows that the structures of SADC economies remain undiversified with a growing dependency on natural resources and export of unprocessed commodities characterized by a stagnant industrial sector,” SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax told the 40th SADC Summit held on August 17.
The assessment revealed that natural resource-based sectors such as agriculture and mining continue to dominate economic activity in most SADC Member States, accounting for on average 25 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Exceptions are Member States such as Mauritius and Seychelles that are implementing policies to expand certain sectors such as the financial sector. While the contribution of the manufacturing sector to GDP is declining, the financial sector contribution is, therefore, increasing in these two Member States.
After peaking at an average of 16 percent of GDP in 2001, the share of the SADC manufacturing sector to total GDP has been on a downward trend and currently stands at around 13 percent, according to SADC figures.
“The assessment further reveals that despite some improvements in intra-SADC trade flows, the total intra-SADC trade, which stood at 19.3 percent in 2018, is significantly less compared to other regions,” Dr Tax said.
Figures from the SADC Secretariat show a downward trend in the flow of goods among SADC Member States since hitting a peak of 21.6 percent in 2016.
According to the figures, merchandise trade among SADC Member States slowed down to 20 percent in 2017, before declining further to 19.3 percent in 2018.