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Africa's Key Trade Blocks Set For Merger....Is Tanzania ready for this?

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Ab-Titchaz, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

    Jun 12, 2011
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    Africa's key trade blocs set for merger


    President Kibaki arrives at Waterkloof Airforve Base, Johannesburg, South Africa where he will attend the second Comesa-EAC-SADC, Tripartite Summit of Heads of State and Government June 11, 2011.
    By PPS

    Posted Sunday, June 12 2011 at 14:39

    JOHANNESBURG - Heads of State and Government have begun a meeting in South Africa seeking to merge three of Africa’s key economic blocs.

    Member countries of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the East African Community (EAC), on Sunday launched negotiations towards the establishment of a Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFRA) comprising the three Regional Economic Communities (RECs).

    The leaders of the member states of the three communities who are meeting in Johannesburg are expected to discuss and set time frames for their secretariats to harmonise policies and programmes of the three RECs in the areas of trade, customs and infrastructure development.

    Spanning the continent from Cape Town to Cairo, the Tripartite FTA will encompass 26 countries with a combined Gross Domestic Product of US$ 624 billion and a combined population of 527 million people.

    The establishment of a Tripartite Free Trade Area is expected to unleash the enormous economic potential of three RECs while marking a historical milestone in the integration of the continent.


    Speaking during the launch of the negotiations, Kenya’s President Kibaki said infrastructural development is a key component to the process of regional integration.

    Noting that countries with advanced levels of market integration, traded heavily more among themselves, President Kibaki said it is important to acknowledge that the 26 member states of the three RECs continue to experience low trade between them due to untapped economic potential.

    “In other parts of the world, countries with advanced levels of market integration trade more among themselves; produce more goods and services and have well developed infrastructure. This leads to high economic growth and development as well as better living standards for the people,” said the President.

    He recalled that during the first Tripartite Summit held two years ago in Kampala, Uganda, the Tripartite Task Force of the three Regional Economic Communities was directed to coordinate and harmonise transport and energy master plans and also develop joint financing and implementation mechanisms for infrastructure.

    In this regard, President Kibaki said it was encouraging to learn that notable progress has been achieved in implementing the directives.

    He, therefore, called upon all stakeholders to ensure that timeliness for the key activities relating to the negotiations were adhered to.

    President Kibaki noted that the desire of regional leaders to attain a Tripartite Free Trade Area is a major statement of their determination to radically transform their economies and the lives of their people.

    He Kibaki reiterated the need to fast track the merger of the three Regional Economic Communities by developing a roadmap for the implementation process.

    The negotiations on the Tripartite Free Trade Area is a strategic response to the African Union objective to rationalize and consolidate existing regional economic communities, with a view to achieving a common market covering the African continent.

    The three Regional Economic Communities are among the building blocs of the African Economic Community (AEC) recognized by the African Union Constitutive Act and the Abuja Treaty.

    Daily Nation:*- News*|Africa's key trade blocs set for merger
  2. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

    Jun 13, 2011
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    South African President Jacob Zuma (2nd L), King Mswati lll of the Kingdom of Swaziland (L), Namibia's President Hifikepunye Pohamba (C), Tanzania President Abeid Karume (2nd R) and Malawi Prsident Bingu wa Mutharika (R) sit together for a group photo at the opening of the tripartite SADC summit in Johannesburg, on June 12, 2011.

  3. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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    SA leaders press for reforms in Zimbabwe at summit

    Posted Sunday, June 12 2011 at 22:30

    Southern African leaders prepared on Sunday to again pressure Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe to make democratic reforms ahead of new elections, after a day of talks failed to settle the issue.

    Leaders of the 15-nation Southern African Development Community met late on Saturday on the eve of a broader free trade summit.

    After failing to reach a decision, they planned to resume talks late on Sunday.

    The region's security "Troika" body in March issued a unusually sharp rebuke to Mugabe, demanding an end to political violence and insisting that reforms promised in the so-called Global Political Agreement are implemented.

    That agreement created the unity government between Mugabe and his rival Morgan Tsvangirai, now the prime minister, after failed elections in 2008 ended in spiral of deadly political unrest and economic collapse.

    Together they were meant to oversee the drafting of a new constitution and hold elections, but the process is running a year behind schedule, a delay that the Troika blamed on Mugabe during the March meeting in Livingstone.

    "Livingstone represented a major advance on the part of SADC," said Zimbabwean political analyst Bornwell Chakaodza.

    "In the past, it had a softly-softly approach to our situation. I think the last thing that SADC wants is to look toothless, not only to Zimbabweans, but to the international community, after their robust approach."

    Now the full summit is expected to sign off on a roadmap that will lay out a new timetable for the constitution and later elections.

    Neighbouring nations had previously handled Mugabe with kid gloves, and the pointed statement in Livingstone drew a fierce reaction from the 87-year-old president and his party, which questioned the integrity of South African President Jacob Zuma.

    That provoked a diplomatic spat with Zimbabwe's powerful neighbour, and Mugabe's ZANU-PF has since softened its tone, perhaps realising the risks of alienating its most important trade partner.

    Mr Christopher Mutsvangwa, part of the ZANU-PF delegation at the talks, said a three-hour meeting Friday with Mugabe and Zuma had laid the groundwork for the summit.

    "The matters discussed involve the requirements of the GPA that will pave the way for the new elections, like the drafting of the constitution," he told AFP.

    "We also want to minimise external interference. We are glad that the issue of the country's security forces which was being drawn into the mediation talks has been put aside," he said.

    The security forces remain firmly in Mugabe's grip under the power-sharing arrangement, and Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change has voiced alarm over the recent tendency of military leaders to wade into politics.

    Amnesty International has also accused the security forces of complicity in a wave of violence against MDC supporters this year.

    Mr Tsvangirai wants SADC to endorse polls for no earlier than 2012.

    Election officials say the shambolic voters roll - an estimated one-third of the people on it are dead - will never be ready this year. The finance ministry says it has no money for elections.

    Whatever SADC's roadmap said, the question is how the region will ensure its decisions are implemented after the original timetable was so thoroughly ignored, said Amnesty's Zimbabwe researcher Simeon Mawanza.