SADC launches Trade Related Facility
On 14 August 2017, the implementation of national projects under the SADC Trade Related Facility (TRF) was offically launched at the Council of Ministers of Trade Meeting during the 37th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Pretoria, South Africa. Since 2015, GFA has been supporting SADC in the management of the TRF through a Facility Support Unit (FSU).
The TRF is a financial and technical support mechanism to SADC member states assisting them to implement commitments made under the SADC Protocol on Trade (STP) and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union (EU) and the SADC EPA Group. The FSU was set up to facilitate implementation of the SADC TRF and was established through a Contribution Agreement between the EU and SADC, which was signed in July 2014 at a value of 31.6 million euros. Located at Masa Centre in Gaborone's Central Business District, the FSU provides technical support to member states in implementing their commitments under the SADC Protocol on Trade and EPA with the EU.
The launch of the implementation of national projects under the TRF represents an important milestone. SADC member states can apply for funding under the 22.8 million euro fund under the STP (16.8 million euros) and the EPA (6 million euros). In July 2017, all 12 countries, whose project applications were approved, had their financing agreements signed and are now starting to implement projects.
The majority of approved projects target industrial sevelopment (21.43%), followed by technical barriers to trade (18.48%) and sanitary and phytosanitary measures (15.83%). This distribution largely reflects SADC integration priorities and is in line with the theme of the current SADC chairmanship “Partnering with the private sector in developing industry and regional value chains”. During the upcoming implementation phase, GFA's continous support to the FSU will be crucial to ensure effective management of the projects, and to a positive impact of the TRF in terms of facilitating the regional integration in SADC member states.