About the SADC Trade Development Programme

The SADC Trade Development Project is a partnership between the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS).It involves a number of research projects on trade reform in Southern Africa.

TIPS’ partnership with AusAID falls under its ‘African Governance Facility’ programme umbrella, and  encompasses research projects around trade liberalisation, through which the project aims to:
  • Develop research infrastructure, for example by creating new databases and simple spreadsheets, templates and models;
  • Formulate policy- and private sector-relevant information tools and publications to inform policy;
  • Carry out various impact analyses; and
  • Build capacity in the region.
A substantial portion of TIPS’ activities in this regard have been and still are focused on developing research infrastructure from a ‘public good’ perspective.  For example, there was until recently no database of SADC trade trends based on Member States’ data. TIPS filled this gap and provides an online, readily accessible trade database which can be used by any interested researcher.  

Implicit in many of the activities is a commitment to identify policy choices which are pro-poor and pro-growth. This is likely to occur through a number of different channels, but specifically research has focused on sectors which are labour intensive. In addition, the development of Social Accounting Matrices for selected countries in the region will allow the organisation to focus particular attention on the links between trade and poverty.  

TIPS has moreover carried out a number of capacity-building activities to address the relatively low levels of analytical capacity in countries in the region under this programme.

Components of the SADC Trade Development Project:

  •  Development of an On-line Trade Database for SADC Member States to improve (policy-makers’ and researchers’) access to up-to-date and reliable (‘cleaned’) trade data. By developing tools which make the database easy to use, the impact of the scarcity of high-level, technical trade analysis skills in developing countries can be mitigated. The databases will be web-based, making access to and maintenance of the databases cost effective. For SADC countries where Internet access is not available, CD-ROMs will be produced.
  •  Annual Intra-SADC Trade Performance Reviews which highlight the intra-SADC structure and patterns of trade for SADC Member States. These ‘reference books’ use analytical techniques not previously applied to SADC.They seek to improve the analytical grounding of policy analyses and new policies.
  • Trade Facilitation – Development of a Regional Trade Information Service: Electronic and hardcopy Trade Information Briefs provide policy-makers and the private sector with export intelligence regarding the potential of SADC ‘s current export ‘basket’ as well as the regions’ potential export basket of goods and services.
  • Development of Social Accounting Matrices (SAMs) provide policy-makers with a simple modelling framework for assessing the impact of various policy options on their economies and especially poverty indicators. The SAMs provide a breakdown of the economic and financial flows within the economies of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho.
  • Impact AnalysesService Sector Liberalisation: This project will provide detailed economic profiles of key service sectors to provide policy-makers with a clearer picture of their service sectors. The analyses will assess the likely impact of service sector liberalisation under the GATS agreement and/or bilateral agreements such as US/SACU to inform policy-makers of the potential costs and benefits of liberalising key service sectors.