CAPE TOWN - The Director-General of Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Kgabo Mahoai said the regional industrialization drive will require a strong Southern African Development Community (SADC) Free Trade Area (FTA).

 Mohoai was speaking at the SADC Industrialization Week that is currently taking place at The Focus Rooms in Sunninghill, Johannesburg under the theme "Partnering with the Private Sector in Development Industry and Regional Value Chains.

According to Mohoai during his keynote address, which he did on behalf of the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the FTA will facilitate increased export diversification, greater competitiveness, more inclusive growth and increased movement of goods and services. He said this would create the economies of scale to facilitate new industrial capabilities to take advantage of a large integrated market.

"The global economy is unfortunately characterized by serious push backs on globalization and trade agreements. This has resulted in an increase in protectionism, with our small economies by global standards as SADC, we should therefore put more focus on improving efficiency in the regional market and to promote regional integration," Mohoai said.

He added that it was important to provide an attractive business environment for industrial growth and more opportunities for the traders. 

He said SADC regional Industrialization Strategy and Road-map can only be taken forward and implemented with the support of the region's private sector. He put emphasis on the fact that expertise and financial resources lies with the private sector and they would ultimately be the ones to the take the investment decisions that are required.

Mohoai appealed to the business sector to work with government to create new opportunities for cross border manufacturing under the SADC Industrialization Strategy and added that growing the economy of the region is an investment in the future stability and socio-economic progress to the benefit of the citizens.

The SADC Industrialization Strategy and Road-map 2015-2023 was developed as an inclusive, long term modernization scheme, which will result in major economic and technological transformation of the region.