TradeMark Southern Africa news: RECs
Cape Town: President Uhuru Kenyatta has said the prosperity of Africa lies in the economic integration of the continent and increased investments in women and the youth. Underlining the need to quicken the pace of integration, President Kenyatta said the economic fragility of the African continent over the past 50 years has arisen partly due to Africa's fragmented markets, which has placed economies in competition with each other rendering them too small to compete globally.
Cape Town: The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies says Nigeria and South Africa will play a critical role in building the value-added production capacity of the African continent. Minister Davies was speaking at the South Africa-Nigeria Business Forum that was hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) at the Fountains Hotel in Cape Town today. The forum was part of the State Visit to South Africa by the Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
Nairobi: Negotiations on the planned merger of three regional market blocs enter a make-or-break phase this week as member countries table their policy demands on areas such as customs procedures and rule of origin. The Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) have since 2008 been negotiating a road map to merge into a free trade area covering more than 527 million people and a GDP of about $624 billion.
Lilongwe: The Ministry of Industry and Trade has said land-locked Malawi stands to benefit greatly from the newly launched on-line Non-Tariff Barrier (NTB) reporting which covers the tripartite free trade area (TFTA). TFTA recently launched an on-line NTB reporting mechanism which is aimed at monitoring and eliminating technical and other non-quantitative barriers to trade occurring in the region.
Nairobi: The nomination of Amina Mohamed to the position of Cabinet Secretary of Foreign Affairs, has sent a strong signal that trade diplomacy could be the mantra of Kenya’s foreign policy. Mohamed, a top-notch UN diplomat who served as an assistant secretary-general at the UN Mission in Nairobi and previously chaired the World Trade Organisation’s top decision-making organ - the General Council - is well regarded in diplomatic circles.
Lusaka: The introduction of an sms function has significantly improved the efficiency of the online system for reporting, monitoring and eliminating non-tariff barriers (NTBs) for trade in Comesa, EAC and SADC regional blocs. “The system has been developed from being only an online reporting system to include an sms function,” Barney Curtis, executive director of the Federation of East and Southern African Road Transport Associations (Fesarta), told FTW following a meeting of more than 90 delegates in Lusaka recently.
Kampala: A report released by the African finance ministers has revealed that Kenya and Uganda are implementing a bilateral agreement to allow citizens from each country to establish in the other and waiving all work permit fees. The report of the sixth annual meeting of the finance, planning and economic development ministers also adds that Kenya and Rwanda are also implementing the same agreement to allow citizens from each country to freely find employment. "These are some of the best practices that are making a difference and are worth noting," says the report of the meeting EAC conference of African minister's of finance, planning and economic development held recently in Abdijan, Cote d'Ivore.
Addis Ababa: Africa’s regional economic communities (RECs) are undertaking various activities and programmes in many areas of integration. This report is intended to capture the progress made in key integration areas, such as trade, investment promotion, infrastructure, the free movement of persons, macroeconomic convergence, agriculture and food security, peace and security, social affairs, tourism, industry and planning, and monitoring and evaluation. Progress made, challenges encountered and the future outlook in each of the abovementioned sectors are analyzed. The report also assesses the status of integration at the continental level, especially at the level of the African Union Commission (AUC), by capturing the progress made in the implementation of the key African Union integration programmes and initiatives.
Cape Town: Why are we focusing on regional integration? Basically, if we look at the African continent and its position in the world economy (as I said earlier on, there have been some important structural changes which are positive), Africa has emerged as the next growth frontier after Asia. The average rate of growth on the African continent this year is about 5‐5.5 percent, which is second only to Asia and ahead of Latin America. If we look at an analysis of what has driven growth in the African continent, there are four main factors:
Nairobi: Africa's biggest trade blocs are set to conclude talks on forming a tripartite free trading area by the end of next year and implementing the project within five to eight years. The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) has been holding negotiations with the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) and the East African Community (EAC) on a free trading arrangement. The new deadlines are contained in a report on the sixth meeting of Tripartite Trade Negotiation Forum, which was held in Zambia a fortnight ago but released last week.
Lusaka: The Zambian Government is disappointed with the limited progress that has been made so far by the tripartite trade negotiations forum (TTNFF), Commerce Deputy Minister Richwell Siamunene has said. The forum consists of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and East African Community (EAC). Mr Siamunene said several meetings had been held by the three regional groupings but there was little progress on the matter.
Cape Town: Africa is our home, and it is our future. It is a market of over one billion people and it is growing rapidly. The National Development Plan acknowledges the global shift of economic power from West to East, and highlights the rise of Africa. Indeed, we have already begun to see our trade patterns shift from traditional partners in Europe and the United States to new markets in Asia and Africa. Africa now accounts for about 18 per cent of our total exports, and nearly a quarter of our manufactured exports. Over the past five years, the South African Reserve Bank has approved nearly 1 000 large investments into 36 African countries.
Lusaka: The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) says negotiations for the tripartite free-trade area (FTA) are behind schedule by a year, as countries push for leadership of the process. Negotiations for the COMESA, Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the East Africa Community (EAC) tripartite FTA were launched in June 2011 to start with a six to 12 month preparatory phase and actual negotiations to commence in July 2012.
Harare: We should be rather more concerned about the slow pace of constructing the regional economic building blocks on the continent, though. We adopted and signed correct protocols that made the commitments early. The Abuja Treaty of 1991 marked the point at which we began to lay down the foundations, and identify the building blocks towards greater African integration within an African Economic Community (AEC). The Treaty presented a comprehensive staged 34-year strategic plan towards an AEC. But we have not advanced in an ordered manner towards those very goals.
Geneva: The rise of the trade and investment nexus, especially in the context of regional value chains, brings into focus the effects of regional integration on foreign direct investment (FDI) and vice versa. On 28-30 January 2013, national, regional and international experts and policymakers will come together to exchange views on this topic, and on how the relationship between FDI and regional integration can be managed in order to foster growth and sustainable development.