Critics want southern Africa to look at Latin America’s Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) as an approach to achieving regional economic integration based on fulfilling basic human needs and the services that are required to meet them instead of trade liberalisation with the EU, within the BRICSA group (Brazil, Russia, India, China and now South Africa) or within the region itself.
As the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) continue to integrate their economies, countries are now subscribing to the block’s trading area in order to attract investment.
South Africa is pushing ahead to secure a free trade agreement between the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for East African States (Comesa).
The SADC Secretariat has achieved little progress in getting Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo to joining its trade liberalisation process, the Free Trade Area, which has been in existence for nearly three years now.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) was presenting a more unified front at the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations with the European Union (EU), said Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, adding that a final agreement could possibly be reached by mid-2011.
The government has thrown its weight behind the South African sugar industry’s demand for preferential access to European markets. If granted, this would put SA on an equal sugar-trade footing with other sugar producing developing economies — the African-Pacific-Caribbean countries and the world’s least developed countries — for the first time since the industry lost its access under apartheid.
SADC states and the European Union have missed the year-end deadline for the completion and signing of a full Economic Partnership Agreement, a target set in June and designed to bring finality to the complex process.
The European Union must scale back plans to protect its industries if it wants to seal a long-deadlocked trade deal with southern African states, South Africa’s trade minister said Tuesday.
African governments’ ambitious plan for a tripartite free trade area (FTA), stretching from South Africa to Egypt, could be more realistic than getting existing ineffective regional customs unions on the continent to work.
A regional SACU civil society conference has recommended that there is a need for a broader regional agenda anchored on the strength of small economies in the region.
The envisaged grand Free Trade Area (FTA), a grouping of COMESA, EAC and SADC will hold a decisive tripartite summit in January 2011 in South Africa as a major push for coalescence amongst the 26 countries gathers traction.
The private sector has been urged to actively participate in the formulation of policies that will help guide the proposed Free Trade Area of COMESA, East African Community (EAC), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The Southern African People’s Network summit ended with a call from more than 350 grassroots representatives for regional governments to reject the imposition of the Economic Partnership Agreements.
Three regional trading blocs have created a draft agreement which paves the way for the setting up of a $624 billion free trade area.
While SADC heads of state and government meet in Windhoek this week, civil society organisations from the region are also holding a two-day meeting in Windhoek called ’The SADC People’s Summit’.
The two-day SADC Summit ended in Windhoek on Tuesday with regional leaders reaffirming their commitment to deepening economic integration and speedy implementation of the bloc’s programmes.
Speaking at a Civil Society gathering code named ‘The Southern African People’s Solidarity Network’ a trade and justice activist in the region, Dot Keet, said EPA has the potential to derail efforts to unite both SADC and Africa’s goals of integration.
Consolidation of the Free Trade Area and preparations towards a Customs Union remain SADC’s priorities in order to deepen regional integration, SADC Executive Secretary Dr Tomaz Salomao said in remarks at the 30th anniversary jubilee summit of Heads of State and Government, in Windhoek, Namibia yesterday.
A meeting in Brussels in late July set a new—and ambitious—end-2010 deadline for conclusion of a full SADC EPA agreement. However, as only four countries have so far signed an interim EPA, conclusion of a full agreement still appears a distant goal.
Even though the implementation of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) free trade area is yet to take place, there are notable areas of progress indicating that the activation of the free trade area is not far off.