DAR ES SALAAM, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Monday urged the 16 member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to remove obstacles to doing business and trade in the region's market.
At the same time, Magufuli said, the SADC member states should encourage the private sector to invest in industries as entailed by the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063.
Launching the 4th Annual SADC Industrialization and Exhibition Week in the business capital, Dar es Salaam, the president said the removing of business and trade hurdles should be done in tandem with the improving of the business and investment environment by the governments.
"Africans have been late when it comes to bringing about development. We should now start running," Magufuli told his audience of senior government officials, members of the SADC secretariat, members of the diplomatic corps, business organizations and politicians in an event televised live by state-run Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation.
On the implementation of the industrialization strategy, Magufuli appealed to the private sector to face up to overwhelming challenges ahead and stop complaining.
He said the contribution of the industrial sector to the economic growth of most of the SADC member states has been minimal, at 11 percent.
African countries are spending most of their foreign exchange to buy goods from overseas instead of using the funds to improve their economies, the president said.
"And these goods that we buy at high prices were made by raw materials bought from Africa at very cheap prices," he observed after visiting some of the exhibitions at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Center.
The SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063 should act as a vehicle toward the development of industries in the region, Magufuli said.
He said his administration, which came into power three years ago, has been massively implementing the industrialization agenda.
"Over 4,000 small and large scale industries have been established during the three years of my administration," Magufuli said.
The SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap should be used to transform SADC member states' economies, enhance economic growth and boost empowerment, he said.
According to SADC executive secretary Stergomena Tax, the Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap was approved at an SADC extraordinary summit in Harare in April 2015 to transform the region's economy and technology.
The 4th SADC Industrialization Week and Exhibitions are among activities to be held ahead of the 39th Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government, slated for Aug. 17-18.
At the summit, Magufuli will assume the chairmanship of the SADC for a year to August 2020.
The SADC was established through a treaty signed on Aug. 17, 1992, by Tanzania and 10 other founding members. The SADC membership has since grown to 16.