Current portal location

Current portal location

Website content

Countries and regions

Southern African Development Community (SADC)

Southern African Development Community

The EU is currently in negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement with Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa, as the Southern African Development Community Economic Partnership Agreement group.

The other six members of the Southern African Development Community region – the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Zambia and Zimbabwe – are negotiating Economic Partnership Agreements with the EU as part of other regional groups, namely Central Africa or Eastern and Southern Africa.

An interim Economic Partnership Agreement was concluded with Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and Mozambique in 2007. It was signed by Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique in June 2009. The Namibia signature is still pending.

Trade picture

Southern African Development Community countries:

  • Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland
  • The EU is the Southern African Development Community's largest trading partner, with South Africa accounting for the largest part of EU imports to and EU exports from the region.
  • TheSouthern African Development Community countries are strong in the exports of diamonds and in South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia these constitute a large to dominant share of their exports to the EU.
  • Other products from the region include agricultural products (beef from Botswana, fish from Namibia or sugar from Swaziland), oil from Angola or aluminum from Mozambique. South Africa's exports to the EU are much diversified and range from fruit to platinum and from manufactured goods to wine.
  • The EU exports a wide range of goods to the Southern African Development Community countries, including vehicles, machinery, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals and processed food.
  • The countries in the Southern African Development Community are members of the WTO.
  • The Economic Partnership Agreement countries in the Southern African Development Community constitute a very diverse group. Lesotho, Mozambique are least developed countries (LDCs), but countries like Namibia and Botswana hold upper middle income status. Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa form the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU).
  • Trade between the EU and South Africa is governed by the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and South Africa. Most of the Southern African Customs Union members have aligned their import regime to this trade agreement. As the main point of entry into Southern African Customs Union, duties are mainly collected by South Africa, which then redistributes to the other members according to an agreed formula.

EU-ACP Southern African Development Community (SADC) "trade in goods" statistics

Trade in goods 2011-2013, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2011 34.5 32.9 -1.5
2012 33.6 34.5 0.9
2013 31.0 33.3 2.3

More statistics on Southern African Development Community

EU and the Southern African Development Community

Negotiations on the EPA were concluded on 15 July 2014 with the SADC EPA Group comprising Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. Angola has an option to join the agreement in future.

Improved opportunities for trade in goods The EPA offers unprecedented opportunities. Going beyond the ambition of other trade agreements, the EPA guarantees duty-free, quota-free access to the EU market for Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Swaziland. South Africa will benefit from new market access additional to the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA), that currently governs the trade relations with the EU. The new access includes better trading terms mainly in agriculture and fisheries, including for wine, sugar, fisheries products, flowers and canned fruits. The EU will obtain meaningful new market access into Southern African Customs Union (products include wheat, barley, cheese, meat products and butter), and will have the security of a bilateral agreement with Mozambique, one of the LDCs in the region. In a pioneering move, the parties will also forego any rights to use export subsidies for any agricultural product exported to each other. Until now, the EU has limited the phase out of export subsidies to agricultural products that have been fully liberalised, but the EPA now does away with the use of such subsidies across the board between the EU and the SADC EPA States. The EPA includes a bilateral protocol between the EU and South Africa on the protection of geographical indications and on trade in wines and spirits. The EU will protect names such as Rooibos, the famous infusion from South Africa, and numerous wine names like Stellenbosch and Paarl. In return, South Africa will protect more than 250 EU names spread over the categories food, wines and spirits. The EPA should usher in a new period of cooperation and partnership in agricultural trade relations.

Development-oriented The EPA has been construed so as to give asymmetric access to the partners in the SADC EPA region. Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Swaziland do not need to reciprocate the EU offer of 100% access. South Africa does not need to reciprocate the 95% access offered by the EU. Instead, they can shield sensitive products from full liberalisation. For countries to diversify and develop their economies, they would need necessary intermediate inputs. This is one reason why trade facilitates growth and development. But to protect markets from too abrupt a liberalisation, a variety of safeguards are available (some permanent, some temporary). These safeguards can be deployed when imports are growing too quickly. These safeguards provide a comfort measure additional to the right to shield sensitive products from liberalisation. Underpinning these trade rules is a detailed development chapter that identifies trade-related areas that could benefit from funding. For SADC EPA Group as a whole, a project of EUR 32 million, for instance, will address issues of implementing this EPA agreement

Regional partnership Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland form the oldest customs union in the world: the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). The EPA is carefully designed to be now compatible with the operation of the customs union, in particular fully harmonising the import trade regime of SACU. For example, there will be a single external tariff schedule and quota arrangements applied to imports from the EU.

More information on the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and SADC

Trading with the Southern African Development Community