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SADC Investment Forum on Mineral Beneficiation Value Chains Sets Ambitious Targets for Regional Growth

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) recently concluded its highly anticipated Investment Forum on Mineral Beneficiation Value Chains, held in Johannesburg, South Africa from March 25th to 28th, 2024.

Aimed at bolstering the development of value chains in crucial sectors such as energy storage (batteries), copper, and mining inputs, the four-day event garnered attention from stakeholders across the region and beyond.

Funded by the European Union (EU) as part of the Support to Improving the Investment and Business Environment in the SADC Region (SIBE) Programme, the forum served as a platform for fostering ownership, partnerships, and cooperation among SADC Member States in driving forward transformative projects.

Mr. Sadwick Mtonakutha, the Director of Finance, Investment, and Customs at the SADC Secretariat, emphasized the region’s commitment to identifying and nurturing potential projects that could yield substantial economic benefits.

Speaking on the sidelines of the forum, Mtonakutha revealed that the region had pinpointed 20 prospective projects spanning nine investment nodes. These projects, if successfully implemented, are projected to generate an impressive import replacement amounting to US$2.3 billion within a decade.

Highlighting the persistent challenges faced by individual Member States in unilaterally developing mineral resources due to technical and financial constraints, Mtonakutha stressed the paramount importance of cooperation and partnerships at the regional level.

He emphasized the need for collaborative efforts in the development of regional projects to overcome these hurdles effectively.

The forum achieved its primary objectives of facilitating matchmaking between Member States possessing similar mineral resources, fostering engagement, and promoting cooperation in joint promotion and development initiatives for energy storage batteries, copper, and mining inputs.

Moreover, Mtonakutha expressed optimism regarding the potential impact of collaboration on mineral beneficiation projects, foreseeing a significant uptick in intra-regional trade.

He outlined an ambitious target of increasing intra-regional trade from the current 20% to a commendable 35%, underscoring the transformative potential of cross-border cooperation in driving economic growth and integration within the SADC region.

The deliberations of the forum provided policymakers and financiers with valuable insights into the plethora of investment opportunities available in the SADC region, laying the groundwork for future collaborative endeavors aimed at unlocking the full economic potential of the region’s mineral resources.

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