A common market for southern Africa

Project description

Title: Cooperation for the Enhancement of SADC Regional Economic Integration (CESARE)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Southern African Development Community (SADC): Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Lead executing agency: SADC Secretariat
Overall term: 2015 to 2017

 © GIZ


The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has significant economic potential. However, at a time when commodity prices are historically low, the region’s trade with the rest of the world is still dominated by natural resource extraction. Meanwhile, global competition in other sectors remains fierce and makes it difficult for SADC Member States to expand their global trade. They therefore struggle to prioritise regional economic integration and its future benefits over more immediate concerns for national budgets and unemployment figures. While many political statements are made in support of integration, significant barriers to doing business continue to exist in the region. As a result, trade is still difficult, time-consuming and costly. For example, it can cost as much as USD 300 per day for a truck to cross the border between two Member States, and delays lasting for several days are common.

In 2015, SADC completed a review of its regional master plan for the next five years, which prioritises industrial development and regional infrastructure. While this is an important step forward, implementation remains a challenge.


National and regional actors have strengthened regional economic integration in the SADC region based on regional protocols and policy provisions.

SADC region. © Björn Carlqvist/ GIZ


GIZ is supporting the SADC Secretariat and other SADC structures in their efforts to monitor, report on, and evaluate the implementation status of the relevant SADC protocols. To aid the negotiations for the Trade in Services Protocol, the project (implemented by the company GFA) provides technical advice to the SADC Secretariat and Member States as well as by preparing trade negotiation forums.

A number of stakeholders play crucial roles in advancing and guiding deeper regional economic integration. Alongside the SADC Secretariat, which acts as coordinator and manager of the regional integration process, the Member States are responsible for putting regional rulings and decisions into effect at national level. The inclusion of the private sector in strategic and thematic discussions of various aspects of integration ensures that the resulting discussions respond to their needs and lead to more trade across the borders.


In one of its main areas of activity, the project assists stakeholder networks in negotiating and implementing regionally harmonised solutions to constraints on trade. Interventions address factors of production and trade that cut across products and sectors, such as customs procedures or quality standards, so as to promote the development of key economic sectors and regional value chains. One such important factor for economic development is regional infrastructure. Among the major barriers to infrastructure projects is the lack of adequately prepared proposals submitted to infrastructure funds.

The project also organises public-private dialogues to consult the private sector on the viability of project ideas early on in the project cycle.