TradeMark Southern Africa news: RECs
Addis Ababa: This Feasibility Report on the creation of an African Integration Fund (AIF) has been prepared for the African Union Commission (AUC), under the technical and financial assistance of the UNDP and the supervisory role of the Department of Economic Affairs of the AUC. The AIF is meant to help finance the “Minimum Integration Programme” (MIP) adopted during the Fourth Conference of African Ministers in charge of Integration (COMAI IV) of May 7-8, 2009 in Yaoundé-Cameroon. The genesis for the proposed establishment of the AIF, one among many vehicles deployed by the AUC, was a response to the low level of funds flow to support the integration process towards achieving the objectives of the Abuja Treaty, and that the realization of the MIP is the minimum necessary to accelerate the integration process. The AIF will be a financial facility with two windows: a technical assistance and grant window and a commercial window.
Kinshasa: In his welcome address, H.E President Joseph Kabila Kabange; welcomed their Excellencies and distinguished delegates to Kinshasa in particular; and to Congo in general. He informed the delegates that his country would spare no effort to ensure that all the delegates were comfortable and well taken care of. He added that the 17th Heads of State and Governments Summit was a very important occasion, availing yet another opportunity for them to advance the COMESA regional integration programmes. He added that the region had reached that time in its history when we could say that COMESA makes a difference in its peoples’ lives. The power that COMESA has as an institution cannot be ignored, but rather should be channelled to the greater good of its people. As the largest Free Trade Area in Africa, with 490 million people and a combined GDP of US $425 billion, and a land mass of 16.5 million square kilometers covering enormous natural resources, a 600% increase in intra-regional trade over the last decade, and among the highest returns on investment in the world, COMESA is an instrument and a force for development. He concluded that it is, therefore, an honour for DRC to host the 17th Heads of State and Governments Summit.
Stellenbosch: On 22 October 2008 in Kampala, Uganda, the Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) agreed to establish a grand Free Trade Area, which is now referred to as the Tripartite FTA (T-FTA). This is supposed to encompass all 26 Member States of the three Regional Economic Communities (RECs). Apart from the economic imperative arising from such an enlarged regional market, the T-FTA initiative has received wide support as it was expected to address the problem of conflicting trade regimes due to overlapping memberships of most members in the three RECs. The Trade Law Centre (tralac) has been following this development with keen interest through the publication of three books focusing on the T-FTA process.
Johannesburg: Egypt’s trade policy has been shaped over many years, driven primarily by political and economic objectives. Over time, changing domestic, regional and international circumstances have had a significant impact on trade policy in Egypt. Since the 1990s Egypt’s trade policy has become more open on unilateral, regional and multilateral levels. Diversification of main trading partners was observed in the 1990s, when preferential trade agreements (PTAs) were signed with European, African and Arab countries. The economic and political outcomes of these PTAs differed in terms of gains and losses, yet Egypt did not withdraw from any of them. Rather, the Government of Egypt (GoE) continued to work with its PTA partners to enhance such regional trade arrangements.
Johannesburg: It is through the support of development partners like Bloomberg and many of you in this room, that we have been able to achieve our goals. You are gathered to discuss prospects in a fast growing continent. You are therefore in the right place, at the right time. There remains on-going uncertainty in the global economy, with the Eurozone in particular continuing to struggle. In contrast, economic growth across much of the African continent has remained robust, with a number of economies still among the fastest growing in the world. Africa's rise over the past decade has been very real. The size of the African economy has more than tripled since 2000.
Addis Ababa: In accordance with the Executive Council Decision EX.CL/Dec.768(XXIII) an Agenda 2063 Framework Document is to be presented for consideration by the AU Policy Organs at the January 2014 AU Summit. This paper highlights the progress made so far, emerging issues from stakeholder consultations, outcomes of the technical analysis and reviews, a communication strategy and the way forward for the preparation of the Agenda 2063 Framework Document. The Zero Draft Framework Document is based on consultations with stakeholders at continental level and technical reviews of existing national and regional plans, including continental frameworks, as well as situational analysis and other inputs. Its purpose is to share pointers so far gained in the formulation of Agenda 2063, and stimulate discussion and seek guidance on the development of a more elaborate Agenda 2063 document. It also presents a roadmap for completion of the Agenda 2063 development process.
Addis Ababa: President Michael Sata has urged African leaders not to be divided by outside forces when undertaking multilateral trade negotiations. Speaking when he made an intervention during the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Summit here, Mr Sata said African leaders must always speak with one voice. President Sata urged the AU Commission to make arrangements for its representatives to meet in March to map out a strategy for multilateral trade negotiations. “This will be in order to break the current impasse on the economic partnership agreements and indeed in order for Africa to achieve the required success in multilateral trade, as well as to agree on what is the best position for Africa,” Mr Sata said.
Addis Ababa: Africa needs to boost intra- trade and increase investment in value addition to propel its economic development, a senior African Union official said Monday. The current level of trade among African states is still low, AU Commissioner for trade and industry Fatima Haram Acyl told a press briefing on the sidelines of the 24th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council underway in the Ethiopian capital. Estimated at 12 percent excluding the informal sector, Haram Acyl said intra-African trade could only be catapulted if the continent first addresses its productive capacity. "Intra-African trade is currently estimated at 12 percent but our wish is to see it growing to 50 percent by 2063. But that can only be achieved if we address our production capacity," she told Xinhua in a follow up interview.
Washington: I am extremely honored to be here before this Committee on whether there will be an African Economic Community (AEC); testifying with specific reference to the efforts by the African Union on following global trends to form regional economic union. With over 50 years in the international trade arena; twenty of which were at the State Department and at the United States Trade Representative, I am especially gratified to comment on whether regional economic communities – RECs – are effective at promoting regional integration. My response to this question is a simple and unequivocal ‘Yes. Just visit any African international airport and observe the special queue to facilitate entry of citizens from countries that share REC membership with that country. Note the blue berets operating as part of ECOWAS to maintain peace and democracy in a West African country. Experience an almost seamless road trip on the corridor linking Mozambique with South Africa. Intra-Africa trade totals are up four fold, but look at intra-REC membership numbers and these are even higher.
Nairobi: Leaders of Africa’s top trading blocs have agreed on free trade rules, pushing the long standing search for a single continental market closer to reality. About 100 trade and customs experts from the 26 countries under Comesa, EAC and SADC, who met in Mauritius this month, agreed on the general rules to apply on the free trade area (FTA) that brings the three blocs together. The agreements cover continental FTA’s rules of origin, programme for eliminating barriers to trade (both the technical and non-tariff), and a dispute settlement mechanism. The agreements constitute a critical step in a campaign to merge the three blocs into a single market of one billion people that member states have been waging in the last five years.
Arusha: A Meeting of the Technical Working Group on Rules of Origin in the context of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (FTA) negotiations is ongoing at Le Méridien Hotel, in Pointe-aux-Piments in Mauritius. The four-day meeting, hosted by the Mauritius's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, has brought together around 100 trade and custom experts from the 26 Member States of the Tripartite region i.e. COMESA, EAC and SADC countries.
Addis Ababa: The African countries, as an economic bloc, occupy a very low position in the global economic classification. The African continent is home to 14% of the global population; it accounts for less than 3% of the global GDP and receives only 3% of foreign direct investment. As regards to global goods trade, the continent accounts for only 1.8 % of imports and 3.6 % of exports. These rates are even lower in the services sector: 1.7% and 1.8% of imports and exports, respectively.
Kampala: The major challenge to deepening regional integration in Africa is not the lack of vision or appropriate policies; rather it is a lack of implementation of sector-wide policies. The continent is not only large but a very fragmented one. The internal boundaries between countries remain the same as those drawn by the European powers in the 1870s. It is probably fair to say that, as African States sought to create a national identity those internal boundaries between countries became more, rather than less, impenetrable.
Nairobi: Any African passport holder will now obtain visa upon arrival in Kenya, in efforts to champion free movement of persons on the continent. Making the announcement during the Kenya at 50 celebrations on Thursday, President Uhuru Kenyatta however said this would be on a reciprocity basis, in a bid to boost intra-African trade. In addition, any African visitor to Kenya will be allowed to stay for up to six months, on condition that they don't compromise security.
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.