Monday, 27 October 2008

Uganda: EAC, SADC, COMESA to rationalise trade relations

As i was leaving Harare Airport i saw this British Airways Plane Landing

Uganda: EAC, SADC, COMESA to rationalise trade

The EAC-SADC-COMESA Summit is considered historic because for the first time since the birth of the AU, key building blocks of the African Economic Community are meeting on how to integrate territories and moving towards deepening and widening integration within the overall Abuja Treaty for the establishment of the African Economic Community.

The Summit is expected to decide on matters related to enhancing cooperation among EAC, COMESA and SADC, including deepening trade, investments, and infrastructure, linking transport corridors, promoting joint projects to boost of industrialization agriculture and food security as well as enabling free movement of people between the three RECs with the ultimate aim of creating a single market and investment area, currently with a combined population of 527 million and combined GDP of $625 billion.

Also to be addressed by the Summit are issues of multiple memberships in the RECs with a view to co-ordinating and harmonizing their regional integration programmes. The tripartite co-operation/arrangement whereby the three RECs will integrate their trade and infrastructure programmes is ongoing and will provide a mechanism that addresses the challenges of multiple membership.

At the end of their one-day summit, leaders of the 26 countries of East African Community (EAC), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), also agreed to start working towards a merger into one economic bloc

The summit comprising of host Yoweri Museveni, Kenya's Mwai Kibaki, Kgalema Montlante of South Africa, Rwanda's Paul Kagame, the current EAC Chairman and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe further approved the expeditious establishment of a free trade area leading to a single customs union.

"Inevitably the integration will seemingly produce losers and winners initially, a consequence of a number of factors, including differences in productivity and economic strengths and individual economies," Kagame, who chaired the first tripartite summit noted

The outcome of the first tripartite summit of Common Markets of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and Southern Africa Development Cooperation (SADC) impact on the rest of Africa, said Kenyan President, Mwai Kibaki.