Communiqué: Sixth Summit of the SACU Heads of State or Government, Gaborone, Botswana
1. The Sixth Summit of the Heads of State or Government of the Member States of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), was held on Friday, 29th June 2018 in Gaborone, Republic of Botswana.
2. The Summit was chaired by His Excellency, Mr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana, and was attended by His Majesty King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Eswatini, His Excellency Dr. Hage Gottfried Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia, His Excellency Mr Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, and the Right Honourable Dr. Thomas Motsoahae Thabane, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho.
3. The Summit reaffirmed the importance of the regional integration agenda that promotes economic integration, industrialisation and economic diversification of the SACU economies.
4. The Summit considered the Progress Report from the Council of Ministers on the implementation of the Work Programme for the Ministerial Task Teams on Trade and Industry and on Finance, that was endorsed by the 5th SACU Summit on 23 June 2017.
5. The Summit recalled that the Work Programme focuses on: (i) the review and development of a suitable architecture for tariff-setting, rebates, duty drawbacks and trade remedies; (ii) strengthening existing cooperation and collaboration on Trade Facilitation to improve border efficiencies; (iii) a review of the Revenue Sharing Formula and the long-term management of the Common Revenue Pool; (iv) addressing volatility in the revenue shares and exploring the feasibility of a financing mechanism for regional industrialisation; and (v) the development of public policy interventions to promote industrial development and value chains.
6. The Summit noted with appreciation, that in accordance with the Schedule of Implementation of the Work Programme, the Task Teams have achieved substantial progress on the implementation of the focus areas. The Summit therefore commended the Council of Ministers for the progress made.
7. The Summit further noted that the implementation of the Work Programme entails extensive national consultations to ensure an inclusive and comprehensive engagement with the relevant stakeholders. In this regard, the Council has agreed on the need to extend the completion date, by an additional twelve (12) months from December 2018.
8. The Summit emphasised the importance of expediting the conclusion of the work, to ensure that the outcomes of the Work Programme are translated into tangible and concrete results for the economic development of the SACU economies.
9. The Summit noted the developments and progress on the SACU Trade Agenda, covering the on-going trade negotiations in which SACU is involved. Furthermore, the Summit reaffirmed the strategic importance of the Tripartite Free Trade Agreement and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement to promote inter-Africa trade and development, in line with the Abuja Treaty.
10. The Summit noted with concern the global developments on trade including the rise in unilateralism and reaffirmed the centrality of the rules – based multilateral trading system as embodied in the World Trade Organisation. Furthermore, the Summit reaffirmed the importance of development in the World Trade Organisation’s work programme with the view to promote inclusive growth.
11. The Summit further considered and adopted its Rules of Procedure.
12. The Summit resolved to meet after the September 2018 Meeting of the Council, for further engagement and provide the necessary strategic direction on the SACU Work Programme.
13. The Summit supports the bid by the Kingdom of Eswatini to host the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
14. The Summit noted that the Kingdom of Lesotho will assume the Chair of SACU, effective 15 July 2018 to 14 July 2019, taking over from the Republic of Botswana.
15. The Heads of State or Government commended His Excellency Mr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana, for the able leadership and guidance rendered during his term. In the same vein, the Heads of State or Government congratulated the Right Honourable Dr. Thomas Motsoahae Thabane, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho, on assuming the Chair of SACU, from 15 July 2018.
16. The Heads of State and Government expressed their appreciation to the Government and the people of the Republic of Botswana, for the warm hospitality extended, and for hosting a successful 6th Summit of the SACU Heads of State or Government.
DONE AT GICC, GABORONE, BOTSWANA ON THIS FRIDAY, 29TH JUNE 2018.
Issued by: The Presidency