. as there is continued surge in food prices and other commodities
I take this opportunity on behalf of the Government and the people of Botswana to warmly welcome you all to Gaborone and to this 47th Meeting of the SACU Council of Ministers. I wish to extend my sincere appreciation for your participation in this Meeting.
Please allow me to also extend our gratitude to the Executive Secretary, Ms. Paulina M. Elago, her team and the Botswana team for all the logistical arrangements made for this Meeting. I hope the arrangements and the facilities made available to the Honourable Ministers and your Delegations will meet your requirements and expectations. I also thank the Commission for all the work done to prepare for this meeting.
Honourable Ministers, ourmeeting is taking place at a time when the world economy remains subdued. The ongoing war in Ukraine remains the major risk that will further undermine the economic recovery efforts. The spill-over effects from the war are not only threatening the global economic growth prospects but food security with the continued surge in food prices and other commodities. We continue to face a surge in energy prices; which is impacting the prices of basic food commodities. If this continues unabated, it will further push our people into hunger and poverty. This is a major concern not only for the SACU region but for the whole world.
In light of these development, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reduced its initial projections and are now forecasting a lower global growth of 3.6 percent in 2022 compared to 6.1 percent in 2021. The advanced economies are now forecast to record growth of 3.3 percent compared to 5.2 percent in 2021. Similar trends in the emerging market and developing countries, including SACU, mirror these global trends.
The emerging market and developing countries are forecast to record a growth of 3.8 percent in 2022 compared to 6.8 percent in 2021.
The projection for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region was also reduced to 3.8 percent for 2022 compared to 4.5 percent in 2021.
Honourable Ministers, may recall that the economies of SACU contracted by a weighted average growth of 6.5 percent in 2020 but are estimated to record a weighted average growth of 4.9 percent in 2021. However, in the current year, growth is projected to be only 2.2 percent. It is therefore important that as a region, we accelerate the implementation of the recently approved SACU Strategic Plan, which is geared towards supporting the economic recovery within our region and to maximise the opportunities that will accrue from the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), as well as creating economic opportunities for our people including the small and medium scale enterprises, especially women and the youth. In this regard, I urge Council to continue providing the necessary resources required to realise the successful implementation of the Strategic Plan.
Honourable Colleagues, looking at the Agenda of our Meeting today, we will consider, among others, the Recommendations of the Commission emanating from the 62nd and 63rd Meetings of the Finance and Audit Committee (FAC). Normally these recommendations would be approved through round-robin, but they were added to the Agenda in the interest of time. Council will further, consider the Report of the 68th Meeting of the Commission, which includes the Executive Secretary’s Report, the Report of the 64th FAC Meeting, the Report of the Technical Committee of Senior Officials on Industrialisation, Investment and Export Promotion as well as the Reports on Trade Facilitation and Logistics. We will also consider a paper on the Rotation of the Chair of SACU Institutions.
Most importantly, our Meeting is preceding the 7th Summit of the SACU Heads of State and Government, which will be held on the 30th June, 2022. In this regard, Council will consider and clear all the relevant documentation for the Summit including the draft Progress Report from Council on the implementation of the refocused Work Programme, update on the SACU Strategic Plan, update on the SACU Organisational Structure and the draft Communiqué.
May I once again warmly welcome you all to this Meeting and invite you to explore Botswana’s beauty once we have concluded our business. There is opportunity to visit craft shops in Gaborone so that you get unique souvenirs from our beautiful country. Further, there is opportunity to go and see our wildlife at Mokolodi (some 10km from Gaborone) or venture to go to Mountain View (some 80km from Gaborone) where there is abundance of wildlife to see, including the lions.
Honourable Ministers, the time has come for us to see our countries as places for potential mutual investment opportunities. We have therefore made it possible for us to get contacts and connections for investment opportunities in some sectors, more especially in the private sector, by allowing for exhibitions at the venue of our meetings. I trust we will take advantage of this opportunity.
Distinguished Ministers and Delegates, I declare this meeting officially open.
I thank you for your kind attention.
Opening remarks by MINISTER of finance, Peggy Serame AND chairperson of the sacu council of ministers ON 28th JUNE 2022 ON THE OCASSION OF THE 47TH MEETING OF THE SACU COUNCIL OF MINISTERS IN GABORONE, BOTSWANA