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Tuesday, 04 July 2017

Few African countries ratify tripartite FTA

A paltry eight African have so far ratified the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) more than two years after it was launched in Egypt, raising fears of a failed continental effort to create an expanded trade barrier free market. On 10 June 2015 African leaders launched and signed the TFTA during a summit in the resort town of Sharma El Sheikh. Countries that signed the TFTA included Angola, Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Swaziland while Zimbabwe and Zambia signed a week later. The TFTA is espoused to enhance the harmonisation of infrastructure programmes and the development of common programmes for industrial and economic development among the 26 countries in Southern African Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and the East African Community (EAC). It is further projected to provide a broader market for over 650 million people with an anticipated Gross Domestic Product of over US$1.3 trillion per annum. The agreement, it was agreed by member states, would only come into effect once two-thirds of members ratified the agreement. However, despite various countries appending their signatures to the agreement, there has been lukewarm responses towards ratifying, with Egypt, Rwanda, Seychel les, South Africa and South Sudan the only countries that have ratified. Comesa’s secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya confirmed in an interview last week that only eight countries have ratified the TFTA while several were still undertaking formalities with respective authorities before ratifying.“Yes, only eight have ratified the TFTA agreement and we are yet to receive the confirmation from other countries,” he said. Zambia and Malawi, among others are yet to append their signatures. Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa and South Sudan are among other countries that have already ratified the TFTA, according to data.

Source: The Southern Times