The 2010 Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Vision and Mission sets out a clear mandate that supports regional integration, values the role of development in the region, and ultimately strives to better the lives of its citizens. However, the implementation of the 2002 SACU Agreement and the constraints that SACU trade practitioners contend with hinder SACU’s progress towards meeting these goals. Furthermore, the barriers that currently exist in intra-SACU trade limit the growth of regional value chains and long-term regional economic development. This discussion paper explores how a regional development fund could help SACU to deepen regional integration, mitigate trade constraints, and sustain development in priority areas within the region. Lessons are drawn from other regional development funds to provide key recommendations for stakeholders to consider in developing a SACU development fund – namely, the European Structural and Investment Funds and the Caribbean Community Development Fund. Their experiences help to inform how a development fund can be capitalised, how funds are disbursed, the associated governance rules and procedures, and the types of projects and priorities that development funds address.
Author: Rebecca Ramsamy