The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at establishing a strategic collaboration in the implementation of programmes of the Centre for Trade and Regional Industrialisation.
The Centre, which was launched by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies in Pretoria in March this year, is intended to strengthen regional integration through dedicated research to support the Continental integration processes. As well as, build the capacity of Africa's trade negotiators in the ongoing Tripartite Free Trade Area and Continental Free Trade Area negotiations. The MoU was signed by the Director-General of the dti, Mr Lionel October and the UNDP Resident Representative in South Africa, Mr Gana Fofang.
"The main role of the Centre will be to facilitate the implementation of the development integration approach that aims not only to promote trade but also regional industrialisation and infrastructure development. This implies that the Centre will promote industrialisation in the African Continent thus supporting the continent's drive to enhance productive capacity." said October.
He added that the key objective is to promote the development of regional value-chains so as to foster diversification and structural transformation of the African Continent. He emphasised that the Continent's reliance on exports of primary products is unsustainable and there is a need for a dedicated effort to promote value-addition.
Mr Fofang said the partnership between the dti and the UNDP will ensure that the Centre undertakes and facilitates applied research and analysis, and collect evidence on policies and good practices in developmental regionalism, amongst others.
"Our collaboration will also enable the Centre to develop tools, methodologies and knowledge for strengthening the implementation and monitoring of regional integration, promote intellectual exchange among multiple stakeholders and across disciplines. We will also promote the dissemination of policies and best practices in the sub-region to support the development of policies at national level," said Fofang.
He added that in order to ensure results, the Centre would cultivate strategic partnerships with a range of research and policy institutions within the continent and other regions, as well as promote South-South collaboration and exchange of knowledge.