Zambia will host the 20th session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE) for southern Africa in March, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has disclosed.
The meeting, to be held under the theme ‘Making natural resources work for Inclusive growth and sustainable development in Southern Africa’, will be held 5-7 March in the tourist capital of Zambia, Livingstone.
Eleven Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) member states are expected to participate in the meeting, which convenes yearly to discuss topical economic and social developments in the region.
This year, the meeting will focus on inclusive growth owing to the region’s impressive economic performance, its bountiful natural resources and how this can translate into employment and sustainable development, the ECA said in a statement.
The Southern Africa region is said to be among the fastest growing regions, mirroring continental patterns with four of its countries among the ten fastest growing economies in Africa.
Richly endowed with arable land, diverse forest resources, fresh water rivers and mineral resources, the sub region is forecast to grow by as much as 5.3 percent in 2014 after growing by 4.9 percent in 2013, 4.0 percent in 2012 and 3.5 percent in 2011.
According to ECA, over 50 percent of the Gross Domestic Product of SADC member states is derived from the exploitation of natural resources based primarily on agriculture, mining, forestry and wildlife productive activities.
These resources account for the flourishing agricultural sector, a diversified minerals industry, large forestry and fisheries sectors and an unparalleled renewable energy potential in the sub region.
The ICE session will be preceded by an expert group meeting constituted under the same theme.
Industry leaders in the areas of natural resources, including Regional Economic Communities, the private sector, senior government officials, intergovernmental organisations and researches, will discuss findings of a study on the same subject and make recommendations to the ICE.
The ICE is a UN General Assembly statutory body for ECA’s five regional offices and the Southern Africa Office is made up of representatives from SADC and COMESA member countries, and Intergovernmental Organisations of the sub‐region.