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SADC, COMESA, EAC unite to ease poverty

MACKSON WASAMUNU, Lusaka
MINISTER of Foreign Affairs Harry Kalaba says three regional groupings will next month sign a tripartite agreement aimed at emancipating Africa from poverty through a well-coordinated trade environment.
The three regional groupings are Southern African Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC).
The tripartite agreement will be signed in Egypt’s resort city of Sharm El Sheikh on June 10, 2015.
The minister said the three regions are endowed with natural resources but have been exporting raw materials without value addition.
“We are now talking industrialisation. Within the framework of SADC, there is what we are calling as the Regional Indicative Development Strategic Plan, which is promoting industrialisation as a key to economic emancipation of these regions.
“So SADC is selling this perspective to COMESA,” Mr Kalaba said.
The minister said as a result, SADC and EAC are coming together to consolidate their efforts.
Mr Kalaba said the Sharm El Sheikh summit will help remove unnecessary tariff barriers that have inhibited progress for a long time in terms of enabling African people to trade smoothly among themselves.
He hoped that once signed, the agreement would promote a new phenomenon in terms of development of the markets.
Mr Kalaba said there can be serious industrialisation on the continent if Africans could trade genuinely amongst themselves and if countries insist on adding value to materials.
He said African countries could become more industrialised and witness job creation like Singapore and Malaysia through value addition to raw materials such as copper
He said the signing of the tripartite agreement will tie the SADC vision together with the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, which looks at Africa’s liberation in its quest for economic emancipation by coming together and making trade much more beneficial to all.

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