Together with the Programme on Cooperation for the Enhancement of SADC Regional Economic Integration (CESARE) and the German Development Insitute (DIE) Trade and Investment Team, the SCSI programme organised a session during the 2016 ‘Global Retreat on Private Sector Development, Economic Policy and Cooperation with the Private Sector’ organised by GIZ which took place in Bad Neunahr, Germany from September 5 to 6. The event was headed ‘Develop, Perform, Achieve: Innovative Approaches to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’ and provided an exchange platform for development professionals, private sector managers and political officials.

The jointly organised session, comprised of three presentations based on practical work and research in Southern Africa and Asia, also took into consideration the interaction among the regions and the European Union. The input was followed by a discussion. During the exchange it was highlighted that pragmatic approaches focusing on cross-regional economic opportunities – such as concrete transport corridors and regional value chains – can be a particularly promising approach for development cooperation. By building up the capacity both within countries, as well as within secretariats of regional economic communities (REC), GIZ can ensure that partners are equipped to deal with the opportunities and possible challenges growing out of the proliferation of mega-regional trade and investment initiatives, especially where they overlap with existing partnerships. It was concluded that cooperation at the regional level is critical to ensure a coordinated and strategic approach toward implementation of the sustainable development goals and often it will be necessary to find elements that unite regions beyond existing political arrangements.