The paper will examine the structural characteristics of the SADC economies and its lop-sidedness in terms of size and patterns of production, consumption and trade. This basic problem of the transformation of the economies in the sub-region will constitute an important part of my analysis of the determinants of exports from SADC. Though the picture of the economic performance of a few of the Southern African economies appears to be improving, the region's economies are still characterised by poor manufacturing capabilities, declining market share in international markets and a sluggish economic growth.
The paper will also provide a comprehensive overview of the multifaceted issues that act as deterrent to growing trade in the SADC region. In doing this, the paper examines the factors influencing the performance of SADC economies. The paper argues that until policy makers constantly address the issues ranging from the macro-economic factors such as price stability, foreign exchange regimes and gross capital formation, first at the domestic level, efforts at trade liberalisation at the regional and international level though not meaningless, will not deliver growth in trade from the region.
It is the intention of the present paper to drive home a message that for trade to develop and grow at the regional level, the policy makers have to start the game at the national level, focusing on those macro-economic strategies that enhance stability such as retention of skilled labour, infrastructure, monetary policies and constantly fine tuning these policy instruments to be in line with trade policies espoused at the regional level. The determinants of exports growth from SADC will ultimately be influenced by the structural changes taking place in these economies and the supply-side constraints bedevilling the individual economies of the region