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SADC Free Trade Area to be launched in August
07
Apr '08
Economic growth and pro-active social policies are essential to fight poverty in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and economic growth can be achieved by accelerating the removal of barriers to the flow of goods, services, capital and labour, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr. Rama Sithanen told the press yesterday.

This statement was made during the media launch of preparations for the forthcoming SADC International Conference on Poverty and Development to be held in Mauritius on 20 April. The Executive Secretary of SADC, Dr. Tomaz Augusto Salamao was also present on that occasion.

The SADC Free Trade Area, which will be launched in August 2008, will facilitate the regional integration process and can play a significant role in poverty reduction in the region, Deputy Prime Minister Sithanen added.

The Executive Secretary of SADC underlined the importance of the organisation of the International Conference on Poverty and Development as 45 percent of the population in the SADC live in abject poverty. This is reflected in poor social indicators such as high levels of malnutrition, illiteracy, unemployment, underemployment, declining life expectancy and unsatisfactory access to basic services.

Dr. Salamao added that preparations for the Poverty Conference are at an advanced stage and that national and regional consultation meetings have taken place with the active participation of different stakeholders, including government departments, NGOs, civil society as well as international cooperating partners.

Some 500 to 600 delegates are expected to attend the Conference and the theme is “Regional Economic Integration: A strategy for Poverty Eradication towards Sustainable Development.”

Central Statistics Office (CSO) of Mauritius

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