SACU ministers meeting gets underway

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pretoria - The Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) Council of Ministers will gather in Pretoria this morning ahead of Friday's crucial SACU summit.

The meeting is expected to receive a progress report from the Council of Ministers on a wide ranging work programme that the Heads of State adopted at the summit last year. 

On Friday, the SACU Heads of State are expected to consider key priority areas which include efforts to promote regional industrial development; facilitate cross-border trade; establish common institutions and promote unified engagement in trade negotiations.

The sensitive revenue sharing arrangement will also come under scrutiny. In 2009, SACU's 100-year unity was dealt a blow when Namibia and South Africa held back from signing an interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union while Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho went ahead. 

The EPA and disagreement on further discussions with the EU created instability within SACU, with some commentators predicting its demise.

Friday's summit follows the 16 July 2010 meeting which was provided an opportunity for the Heads of State and Government to reflect on the achievements made in SACU's 100-year history and the challenges facing the organisation.

SACU member states comprise Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland, with a combined population of 55 million people and a combined GDP of over 2 200 billion Euros.