Critical Technical Infrastructure For Industrialization Efforts

Garth Strachan speaking at the 33rd SADC TBT Cooperation Structures Meeting.

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The Deputy Director-General of Industrial Policy Development at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Garth Strachan says that it is of the outmost importance for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to get a superior understanding of the technical infrastructure and its capabilities to achieve common industrialization efforts.

Strachan was speaking at the 33rd SADC Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Structures Meeting in Johannesburg recently.

The annual meeting is co-hosted by the dti together with the SADC Secretariat and is attended by all 16 SADC Member States. It is aimed at laying the framework for the continued implementation of the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Annex to SADC Protocol on Trade.

Strachan indicated that while the area of technical infrastructure was little understood and does not usually occupy the public discourse because of its technical and scientific nature, it had the ability to create cohesive and strong regional growth when implemented properly.

“Our biggest challenge is that we need to be looking at this as a region in order to get a superior understanding of how critical technical infrastructure institutions and their capabilities are for this common purpose. To do this we need to ensure that we secure intra-regional investment in trade and industrial integration and that together with the private sector we build industries that are characterized by a high-level of technology, value-addition and exports,” said Strachan.

The week-long programme centred on discussions to progressively eliminate unnecessary TBT amongst SADC members and other regional and international trading blocks and promote an infrastructure for quality.

“Achieving this would require policy coherence within the perimeters of national independent sovereignty. An education and skills strategy in support of this effort, a system of science technology and innovation to support this effort and economic infrastructure and what I refer to as the absolute necessity of technical institutional capabilities to support this effort,” he said.

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