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Southern Africa: SADC - the AU's Orphaned Rec?

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Monday, 13 July 2015

Southern Africa: SADC - the AU's Orphaned Rec?

The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) was launched during the African Union's (AU) Extraordinary Summit of Heads and State and Government in Johannesburg on 15 June. Two of the adopted guiding principles are that the CFTA negotiations shall be AU member states/RECs[Regional Economic Communities]/Customs Territories driven and that RECs FTAs [Free Trade Areas] will be the building blocks of the CFTA. In the case of south Africa, there are questions being raised about the preferred REC for the region. Some onlookers note that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) was recognised as the preferred REC for Southern Africa instead of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). While SACU is the world's oldest customs union with a common external tariff, SACU countries would then anyway submit a joint tariff offer within the SADC configuration. Adding to this situation, SADC member states belong to more than one REC. e.g. Tanzania is a member of SADC and the East African Community (EAC). Additionally,  SADC member states like Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, are also members of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Analysts note that it will be difficult for countries to decide which REC to work with on the CFTA, a repeat of the situation tat arose during the negotiations of the EPAs.

Source: allafrica.com