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Kikwete agrees to new 26-nation economic block

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by nngu007, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. nngu007

    nngu007 JF-Expert Member

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    Jun 13, 2011
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    By In2EastAfrica - Sun Jun 12, 8:31 pm

    [​IMG] Kikwete agrees to new 26-nation economic block

    President Jakaya Kikwete on Sunday signed an agreement on talks leading to the establishment of a Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFRA) comprising the three Regional Economic Communities (RECs).

    TFRA, is to comprise the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the East African Community (EAC). TFRA will encompass 26 countries with a combined GPD of 624bn US dollars.

    President Kikwete signed the agreement after a closed session among Heads of State from the involved countries held in Sundton City in South Africa.

    The leaders of the member states of the three Regional Economic Communities are also expected to discuss and set time frame for their secretariats to harmonize 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 for the three RECs, while marking a historical milestone in the integration of the continent.

    Speaking during the launch of the negotiations, the SADC chairman and Namibian presiden, Mr Ifikepunye Pohamba, said that SADC member countries were ready for the new establishment.

    According to him, the decision to form the establishment was made at an EAC meeting in 2005 followed by a SADC meeting in 2008 and a COMESA meeting in 2009.

    On his part, President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya said that 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 higher economic growth and development as well as better living standards for their 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 co-ordinate and harmonize transport and energy master plans and also develop joint financing and implementation mechanisms for infrastructure.
    In this regard, President Kibaki said, it is 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 are 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.

    President 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.
    By JOSEPH LUGENDO, Tanzania Daily News
     
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