Trade Wars

EABC, COMESA and SADC establish African Tripartite Trade Councils

Samuel Nabwiiso,

The East African Business Council, COMESA and the SADC Business Council have officially launched and formed the African Tripartite Business Council to spearhead the inclusion of private sector policy proposals in the negotiations of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement and the African Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA).

This is one of the resolutions of the Regional Business Councils Consultative Meeting on the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement organized by the East African Business Council ( EABC) with the support of TradeMark East Africa (TMEA).

John Bosco Kalisa, CEO of EABC, said regional private sectors play a central role in the implementation of the AfCFTA there for the need to include their views in the implementation of the framework. continental free trade.

“The African Tripartite Business Council will present joint private sector policy positions to the AfCFTA Secretariat in Ghana and Tripartite Ministerial Council meetings to expedite the implementation of the agreements,” said Mr. John Bosco Kalisa, CEO of EABC.

Kalisa called on COMESA member states, the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to ratify the Tripartite Free Trade Area in order to reach the threshold of 14 ratifications required for the entry into force of the agreement.

Speaking at the same meeting, Dickson Poloji, CEO of COMESA Business Council, said it is essential for the private sector to be aware of the trade instruments of rules of origin, standards and dispute settlement mechanism. disputes under the AfCFTA, if they want to benefit from it. of the economic bloc.

He clarified that the AfCFTA implementation committees should be co-chaired by the private sector.

On his part, Peter Varndell-CEO of the SADC Business Council said the Tripartite African Business Council will improve coordination and development of positions on AfTCFA policy formulation and negotiations.

Mr. Dennis Karera, Vice President of EABC, said trade under the AfCFTA is the answer for Africa to better respond to the external shocks of conflict, Covid-19 and climate change. .

Presenting a paper on the role of ICTs in promoting regional trade, Ms. Nadia Uwamahoro, Managing Director, Data Systems, called for the finalization of the AfCFTA protocol on digital trade to promote youth and the emergence of African-owned e-commerce platforms.

Other speakers in the meeting called on Mr. Antoine Muzaneza, Vice President of EABC, to build private sector capacity on the benefits of the AfCFTA and strategies to boost agriculture and industrial value addition , which can be achieved if the private sector has access to cheap products. credits.

“On the importance of access to affordable credit and the involvement of the private sector in the development of national strategies on the AfCFTA,” said Antoine Muzaneza, senior manager of EABC.

He added that it is high time for the African private sector to grow stronger. This will solve many economic shocks that are emerging in the world such as climate change, wars like that of Russia and Ukraine, which have strongly affected the economies of the African continent.

African countries are dependent on food and energy imports and will be affected by rising global energy prices due to the Russian-Ukrainian war.

The war disrupted wheat imports into the region. 16% to 17% of the food imports of East African countries are wheat and approx. 50% of wheat imports come from Russia and Ukraine,” he explained.

Dr Rodgers Mukwaya, ECA Subregional Office for East Africa, said: “The COVID pandemic and the Ukraine crisis have disrupted global supply chains. As a result, companies and nations are moving away from global supply chains towards national and regional supply chains. We must leverage the AfCFTA to create regional value chains.

Dr Mukwaya explained that African central banks need to control inflation without hurting GDP growth.

Mr. Angelo Lado Gore, Chief Executive of the South Sudan Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, said, “South Sudan has the potential to be an agricultural hub and change the narrative of the country on oil dependence and conflict.

EABC Board Member Stuart Mwesigwa said there is a need to disrupt the status quo on delays in the implementation of the AfCFTA and ZLET by acting faster than the private sector and trade.

Commenting on the trade issues of the East African Community, Victor Ogola, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Private Spector Association, said the region faces issues of counterfeit products and illicit trade which negatively constrain growth. local industries in the region and in Africa at large.

“East Africa loses $500 million every year due to illicit trade,” he said.