Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
COMMON Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) secretary-general, Mr Sindiso Ngwenya, has been elected the new chair of the Comesa, East African Community (EAC) and Sadc Tripartite Task Force.
He takes over from the EAC secretary-general Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko. A brief handover ceremony was conducted at the headquarters of the EAC in Arusha, Tanzania last week.
“I have listened to the outgoing chairperson and realise that there is still a lot of work that still needs to be done for the Tripartite in order for the Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement (TFTA) to enter into force,” Mr Ngwenya said in a statement. Mr Ngwenya is a Zimbabwean technocrat with vast knowledge and experience in economic integration issues.
He paid tribute to the African Development Bank (AfDB) for providing part of the financial resources to support efforts aimed at creating awareness on the importance of the TFTA Agreement and the need to have it ratified by Tripartite member/partner States that have signed it.
The agreement requires at least 14 ratifications before it may become operational.
The deal will come into force once ratification is attained by two-thirds of the 26 member states within the Comesa-EAC-Sadc trading bloc.
So far, it is only Egypt that has ratified with the EAC being in the process of ratification.
The Comesa-EAC-Sadc Tripartite Free Trade Area was launched in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El Sheik by 26 member states on June 10, 2015.
The TFTA stretches from Cape Town to Cairo, creating an integrated market with a combined population of almost 600 million people and a total Gross Domestic Product of about $1 trillion.
The tripartite aims at improving the economic and social welfare of the citizens with the regional grouping through the promotion of regional economic growth by creating enabling environment for regional trade.
The tripartite strategy strives to achieve economic growth through the reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade.
The strategy also includes implementation of programmes to design and roll-out the TFTA, harmonisation and implementation of trade and transport facilitation measures, and design and implementation of infrastructure to support trade. — @okazunga.
Article Source: The Chronicle