SMEs to gain priority at the 25th ICE of Southern Africa to be hosted by the Kingdom of Eswatini

Livingstone, Zambia, 30 November 2018 (ECA) – The first Consultative Meeting of the Bureau of the 24th Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE) of  Southern Africa met and resolved that the theme for the 25th ICE meeting would be  “Strategies and Policies for the Integration of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the Industrialization Process in Southern Africa”. The 25th ICE will be hosted by the Kingdom of Eswatini in the first or second week of September 2019.

The meeting also deliberated on  follow-up activities on the recomendations of the 24th ICE meeting hosted by the Republic of Mauritius in September 2018,  reviewed and discussed the work of SRO-SA especially its programmed activities for 2019, and the issue of enhanced partnership with other key regional partners particularly the African Union, COMESA, and SADC.

Meanwhile, the ECA  Director for the Sub regional Office for Southern Africa  (SRO-SA), Said Adejumobi commended the Bureau of  the 24th ICE of  Southern Africa for their support in the delivery of  programmed outputs. “ We should continue this collaboration to ensure that the developmental needs of member States and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) are met”, he said in his welcome address to the Bureau.

Speaking at the same event, the African Union regional delegate to Southern Africa, SADC and COMESA secretariat (AU-SARO), Auguste Ngomo thanked SRO-SA for inviting him to the Bureau’s meeting and implored strenthened partneship with SRO-SA on the ratification and domestication of regional instruments and on alignment of regional policies and priorities. He commended SRO-SA for the excellent collaboration and technical support to his office.

On his part, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretariat representative, John Mukuka, noted the need for continued collaboration with ECA in delivering development support. “COMESA has worked with ECA on a number of programmes such as the commodity exchange, maize and beans value chains and looks forward to continued collaboration in projects such harmonising stock feeds in the region, the harmonisation of grades and standards of rice, maize and beans and on developing a regional commodities exchange”, he noted.

The Bureau expressed deep satisfaction with the work of SRO-SA and praised its proposed work programme for 2019. The Bureau noted that SRO-SA is doing a lot and influencing the development trajectory in the region, but needs greater visibility for its work in the region.

The Bureau of ICE comprises a Chairperson (currently- Mauritius), a Vice Chairperson (Eswatini) and a Rapporteur (Malawi), elected at the annual meeting of the ICE and serves for a year until the next session. The Bureau provides guidance to SRO-SA and oversees programme delivery and any other pertinent issues on the role of ECA in Southern Africa. The Bureau of the 24th ICE elected at the Session hosted by the Government of Mauritius on 18 to 19 September 2018 comprises of the Financial Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development of Mauritius as Chair, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Finance of Eswatini as Vice Chair and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development of Malawi as Rapporteur.

Delegates at the Bureau’s meeting consist of the three members of the Bureau - Mauritius, Malawi and Eswatini and representatives of AUC, COMESA Secretariat and SRO-SA staff.

The ICE is a United Nations (UN) General Assembly policy sub-organ of the UN Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development established to provide a Forum for engaging member States’ senior policy makers on policy and programme related matters in each of the five (5) sub regions of Africa. As an integral part of ECA’s governance machinery, the ICE meets annually to consider, provide guidance and endorse the overall formulation and implementation of the Sub Regional Office (SRO’s) programme of work in line with the priorities of each sub region. The Committee proffers recommendations to ensure that the development imperatives of the sub regions are fully reflected in the overall work programme of ECA.



Issued by:

The Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa

UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

P.O. Box 30647, Lusaka, Zambia.


Media Contact:

Ms. Lavender Degre,

Communication Officer,

Tel: +260 211 228502/5 Ext. 21307

DL: +260 211 376607