Trade blocs prepare for Uganda summit

September 25, 2008

, NAIROBI, September 25 – Top managers of three regional market blocs converged in Nairobi on Wednesday ahead of a key summit to be held in Uganda in October that will kick start discussions on continental integration.

The first Tripartite Summit of Heads of State representing the East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is to be held in Kampala on October 20.

“Amb. Juma Mwapachu, Secretary General of the EAC;  Eng. Joao Caholo SADC’s Assistant Executive  Secretary, and  Assistant Secretary General,  Stephen  Karangizi  of COMESA, met in Nairobi to finalize the documentation for the Tripartite Summit,” according to the EAC Directorate of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs.

EAC, SADC and COMESA are three of the eight African Union Regional Economic Communities (RECs) recognized under the AU conventions as the building blocks for Africa economic community and continental unity.

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 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 harmonising their regional integration programmes. The Tripartite co-operation 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 .

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