TradeMark Southern Africa news: RECs
Addis Ababa: The proposed agreement on trade facilitation is one of the key issues on the negotiators’ table in the run-up to the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference, to be held in Bali, Indonesia, from 3 to 6 December 2013. In this context, this paper provides a thorough analysis of key trade facilitation issues from an African perspective, highlighting what is at stake for the continent, thereby contributing to inform the opinions of African negotiators at a critical juncture.
Arusha: The fourth meeting of the Friends of Tripartite was held in Arusha recently. The main objective of the meeting was information exchange on progress made with regard to regional infrastructure development in the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite region. While opening the meeting, East African Community (EAC) Secretary General and Chair of the Tripartite Task Force, Dr Richard Sezibera said the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Summit of Heads of State and Government in June 2011, adopted a developmental integration approach for the Tripartite Free Trade Area built on three pillars namely: Market Integration, Industrial Development and Infrastructure Development.
Addis Ababa: In pursuance of the aforementioned decision consultations were held with the RECs during the 11th AU-RECs-ECA-AfDB Coordination Meeting, held in Djibouti in 2012. Further endorsement was also received from the President of the ECOWAS Commission and the Secretary General of ECCAS during a Retreat held between the senior management of the AUC and the RECs in March 2013, at which it was agreed that a detailed consultation meeting should be held with the RECs concerned to map the way forward. The above processes, therefore, paved the way for the convening of a consultation meeting between ECOWAS, ECCAS and CEN-SAD and their Member States with the overall aim of seeking further guidance on the initiative. The meeting was held during the Sixth Conference of Ministers in charge of Integration (COMAI VI), from 15-19 April, in Mauritius. Representatives from the EAC-COMESA-SADC Tripartite Arrangement also participated in the meeting to share and exchange experience as well as learn lessons from the original Tripartite process taking place amongst those Communities.
Dar es Salaam: The tripartite arrangement of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, East African Community and Southern Africa Development Community (ComesaSA-EAC–Sadc) is the most exciting trade and infrastructure development in Africa at the moment. It provides the foundation of the Continental Free Trade Area promoted by the Africa Union (AU) Commission and its partners. The main reason why the three Regional Economic Communities (RECs), decided to launch the Tripartite Programme in 2006 was to remove some of the inconsistencies and costs in regional integration brought about through overlapping memberships. Thus the Tripartite is not a new legal structure neither is it a new REC. It is an attempt to merge the Regional Organisations into the African Economic Community.
Arusha: This Paper is intended to provide background for a discussion of how transport policies and regulation in Africa can be better harmonized in order to expand intra-regional trade in the region.
Sandton: There are concerted efforts to foster greater financial integration at the regional level. For example, in the area of payment systems, the SADC Integrated Regional Electronic Settlement System (SIRESS) was launched on 22 July 2013 as a pilot. There are currently 21 participants (4 CMA central banks and 17 commercial banks). This system enhances and harmonises the legal and regulatory frameworks in the region and provides an integrated regional cross-border payment settlement infrastructure, allowing inter-country payments to be effected quickly, efficiently and safely. In fact, the benefits are already starting to manifest themselves. SIRESS processed 1 780 settlement instructions to the value of R15 billion during August 2013 which was the first full month in which the system was in operation.
Tunis: Management submits the following Report and Recommendations on a proposed ADF Grant for UA 5.00 million to finance the building of trade-related capacity to the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Regional Economic Communities (RECs) project.
Johannesburg: Trade and economic liberalisation are at the heart of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and core to its mandate of deepening regional integration and reducing poverty. The Protocol on Trade (PoT) was signed in August 1996 by 11 member states to pave the way for a free trade area (FTA) within SADC. After protracted negotiations, the PoT entered into force on 25 January 2000 when it was ratified by two-thirds of member states, with the exclusion of Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Seychelles. The aim of the SADC FTA is to increase trade flows between member states by reducing the time and cost of imports and exports through the elimination of tariffs, harmonisation of customs procedures, and the creation of one-stop border posts.
Tunis: The committee on Ministers of Industry of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) held a meeting in Mauritius from 9 to 10 July 2013. The member states of the TFTA were urged to prepare their tariff offers ahead of the forthcoming negotiations in September 2013. It was noted that offers should be within the band of 60 to 85 percent to allow completion of the negotiations for a free trade area among the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, East African Community and Southern African Development Community member states. The TFTA was launched in 2008, and negotiations were set to commence in June 2011 but effectively took off in December 2011.
Brussels: I am speaking in my capacity as Secretary General of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and not on behalf of either the Inter-Regional Coordination Committee (IRCC) of COMESA, EAC, IOC and IGAD or of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite. Some of our regional partners may also share my views but we have not had the opportunity to consult and to come up with a common position as Regional Organisations. I am also speaking as an admirer of the European Union and what Europe has achieved since the launching of the Schuman Declaration in May 1950 and the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community with the signing of the Treaty of Paris one year later in 1951.
Addis Ababa: The Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union adopted, during its 18th Ordinary Session that was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January 2012, the decision (Assembly/ AU/Dec.394 [XVIII]) to establish a Pan- Africa Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) by the indicative date of 2017. It also endorsed an Action Plan for Boosting Intra-Africa Trade (BIAT).
Addis Ababa: The Conference of the African Union Ministers of Trade (CAMoT) is the highest political and policy-making forum where issues relating to promoting intra-Africa and International trade are discussed. The Conference is organized every year and brings together the Ministers of Trade as well as Senior Trade Experts from Member States of the Union to deliberate on trade policies and programmes and, where necessary, agree on common positions on issues of relevance to Africa. Given Africa’s quest to occupy its rightful position in the global arena, CAMoT is committed to undertaking collaborative initiatives designed to strengthen the continent’s trade relations and promote economic growth through achieving rapid market integration through economic diversification and using industrialization as a dynamic force.
Stronger regional integration has been a policy priority in Africa for several decades. Closer trade links with neighboring countries promise to stabilize food markets, enhance proﬁtable exchanges in light manufactures, reduce consumer prices, and help develop regional production networks. However, the implementation of existing integration initiatives has often been lackluster, so that the economic development and poverty reduction potential from expanded intra-regional trade has remained untapped. More effective monitoring processes for existing integration arrangements could help to raise the proﬁle of the prevailing implementation deﬁcits and provide policy makers and civil society with the necessary information to push for corrective action.
Addis Ababa: At the PTA Bank's 29th Annual General Meeting in Addis Ababa, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Abdalla Hamdok said the share of intra-African trade "could more than double within the next 10 years if the Continental Free Trade Area is implemented by 2017, along with improvement of customs procedures, port handling and inland transport."
Lusaka: Outgoing PTA Bank Chairperson and Zambia’s Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda has urged African interest groups to work together towards the creation of a viable regional market, which is attractive, competitive and well governed. “We should move more seriously because the youths, and the general populace in the East and Southern African region, are tired of reading newspaper reports about speeches made from lofty platforms and promising them economic emancipation. What they want is action which will give them life skills, jobs and sustainable livelihoods so that they permanently stay away from exposure to crime and delinquency,” prodded Mr. Chikwanda.
The Commission of the African Union held the 1st Technical Working Group workshop on Integrated Border Management in Harare from 21-23 August 2013. The workshop was held in response to the decision taken by the African Heads of State and Government at the 18th Ordinary Session of their Assembly held in Addis Ababa in January 2012 to fast tracking the establishment of a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) by an indicative date of 2017 as a way of boosting Intra African Trade.