ZIMBABWE will participate at the 42nd Ordinary Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Summit of Heads of State and Government, which will be held on August 17 and 18 in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital, Kinshasa.

The summit will be held under the theme Promoting Industrialisation through, Agro-processing, Mineral Beneficiation, and Regional Value Chains for Inclusive and Resilient Economic Growth.

Analysts say while this summit is important for Zimbabwe, it will have no effect for the country if Zimbabwe lacks strategies in the thematic areas to be discussed. Bulawayo-based academic Methuseli Moyo said the summit was crucial for Zimbabwe in that it spruced up regional trade.

“The summit is very important in terms of regional trade, integration and security. Zimbabwe cannot afford not to be there. We need to promote industrialisation, we need to step up agro-processing to add value and create jobs. We have plenty of minerals and we could get more value and create more jobs through beneficiation,” he said.

“The theme is very appropriate for Zimbabwe. In a nutshell, the summit speaks to Zimbabwe and the region’s challenges. Hopefully, the summit will provide solutions. Zimbabwe has a lot to contribute and learn.”

Political analyst Vivid Gwede said:  “There will be discussions on how Sadc countries can co-operate on thematic areas, but this does not substitute and can only complement domestic plans. In the absence of domestic strategies or policies to drive agro-processing and mineral beneficiation, these regional discussions will not help Zimbabwe much.”

Centre for Natural Resource Governance executive director Farai Maguwu said Sadc platforms should be utilised and monitored to fully achieve their impact rather than being held as political talk shows.

“While the theme is vital and strategic, these Sadc meetings are to a large extent political talk shows whose impacts are never evaluated to assess progress,” he said.

“There ought to be a monitoring and evaluation framework of Sadc summits and protocols to measure effectiveness of implementation.”

Maguwu said Zimbabwe should seek regional partnerships to boost value-addition and beneficiation of its minerals and agro-products, and to revive its manufacturing sector.

The Sadc summit, which is held annually, is a policy-making platform and gives overall policy direction for member States.  It is attended by heads of continental and regional bodies as observers.

Source Newsday