Regional blocs increase trade in Africa

Friday March 27 2015

By Dorothy Nakaweesi

Kampala. Trade among 26 African countries is set to increase as their Regional Economic Communities meet this June to sign the Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement.
The RECs, namely the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), East African Community (EAC) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) if they accent to the FTA, it will make doing business amongst 26 member states easy.

Ideally, the FTA arrangement helps member countries to reduce trade barriers—import quotas and tariffs— and to increase trade of goods and services with each other.
According to the chairperson of the RECs tripartite, Mr Sindiso Ngwenya, this meeting— the third summit of the tripartite bloc—will be held in Egypt on June 10, 2015.
“Its coming into operation will mark the first phase of implementing a developmental regional integration strategy that places high priority on infrastructure development, industrialisation and free movement of business persons,” Mr Ngwenya said.
He, however, said fa regional industrial programme should be formulated for the Tripartite FTA to grow.

Export figures
Latest statistics show the combined intra-trade of the three Regional Economic Communities (RECs) for the period 2004 to 2014 grew from $30 billion (Shs87 trillion) to $102.6 billion (Shs289.7 trillion).