Southern African Customs Union (SACU)

Customs Union among South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland.

The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) was established in 1910 as a Customs Union Agreement between the Union of South Africa and the High Commission Territories of Bechuanaland, Basutoland and Swaziland. In 1969, with the independence of Botswana and Lesotho in 1966 and Swaziland in 1968, a new SACU Agreement was concluded with the Republic of South Africa. Namibia gained its independence from South Africa in 1990 to become the de-jure fifth member of the Customs Union. In 1994 SACU Members renegotiated the 1969 SACU Agreement. The negotiations were concluded and a new 2002 SACU Agreement came into force in 2004.

Among other developments, the 2002 SACU Agreement provides for democratic decision-making processes; establishes a professional and independent Secretariat responsible for the administration of the Union as well as institutions of a technical and decision-making nature in order to regulate the functioning of the Union. The objectives of the Union include, among others, the facilitation of cross-border movement of goods, the promotion of fair competition, and the equitable sharing of customs and excise revenue raised by all Member States within the Union. SACU established a Secretariat in 2004 and is hosted in Namibia.

Botswana’s Ministry of Trade works to ensure SACU is a nucleus for deeper integration at the SADC level and contributes to the continental integration agenda.

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