PUBLISHED ON July 27th, 2023

COMESA Hands Over Stewardship of the Tripartite to SADC

The stewardship of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) has changed hands with COMESA handing over the chair of the Tripartite Task Force (TTF) to the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The handing over was conducted on 14 July 2023 during the 36th TTF meeting on the sidelines of the 5th Africa Union Mid-Year Coordination Review Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe handed over to her SADC counterpart Amb. Alias Mpedi Magosi.

The TTF is responsible for the coordination of the TFTA programmes, and its leadership rotates among the chief executives of the three regional economic blocs.  COMESA took over the chair from the East African Community in July 2022.

Speaking at the function, Ms Kapwepwe underscored the importance of the Tripartite FTA in addressing economic development challenges and fostering Africa’s continental economic integration. She highlighted the achievements realized during COMESA’s tenure under the three pillars of the tripartite, namely market integration, infrastructure development and industrial development.

Specifically, under market integration pillar, she said 11 Member States have so far ratified the Tripartite FTA and that only three were required to reach the requisite 14 ratifications.  Substantial progress has however been realized under negotiation of Tripartite Rules of Origin and developing of systems to address non-tariff barriers to trade. She emphasized the need to strengthen coordination and collaboration between the TFTA and the AfCFTA processes to avoid duplication of efforts, wastage of resources and possible conflicts.

She thanked SADC and EAC Secretariats for their steadfast support in driving the Tripartite agenda and called for even greater efforts towards enforcement and implementation of various programmes and activities. Moreover, she called upon the technical team to scale-up implementation of various Tripartite activities, for instance the simplified trade regime, the tripartite online non-tariff barriers platform among others.

“This will ensure complementarity and harmonization with other regional and continental integration instruments,” she added.

Amb. Magosi thanked the COMESA Secretary General for the excellent leadership and for laying a strong foundation for its eventual actualization. He underlined the importance of ratification of the tripartite agreement to unlock other activities, including resource mobilization, effective coordination structures and implementation of all the three pillars. Further, he undertook to prioritize the ratification of the Tripartite and affirmed commitment to work with COMESA and EAC.

Present was the EAC Deputy Executive Secretary Hon. Andrea Aguer Ariik Malneth also affirmed EACs commitment to realization of the objectives of the Tripartite and called for establishment of an effective coordination mechanism.

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