Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tripartite blocs to work on infrastructure

By Gashegu Muramira [The New Times RWANDA] - 29th of May, 2010

Three regional economic groupings under the tripartite agreement have resolved to closely work together in finding solutions to the region’s run-down infrastructure network.

The three regional blocs are; East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community, (SADC).

This was announced by Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete, who is also the EAC Chairman in his State of the EAC address to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) in Nairobi on Tuesday.

“Through the Tripartite arrangement, a unique collaboration has emerged to address regional infrastructure challenges,” Kikwete said.

“COMESA-EAC-SADC are now jointly working on mobilising resources for the development of the major transport corridors in our new expanded region.”

Kikwete cited the corridors as; the North-South Corridor linking the port of Dar-es-Salaam and the port of Durban, and the Northern Corridor linking the Mombasa Port with Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern DRC.

The others are; the Central Corridor linking Dar-es-Salaam Port with Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern DRC.

He added that plans are underway to hold an ‘Aid for Trade’ conference with an aim of identifying potential resources for the development of the three corridors.

The heads of state from the three regional groupings agreed in 2008 to work on the expeditious establishment of a Free Trade Area (FTA).

To this, Kikwete said that consultations are now underway to hold the Tripartite Summit this year where the Heads of State will pronounce themselves on the exact date for the commencement of the FTA.

He called for the removal of infrastructure-related barriers both physical and non physical.

“This is critical for smooth flow of trade and people of our region, who are the main actors and objects of the integration project,” he said.

EALA Speaker, Abdirahin Abdi, hailed the EAC leaders for signing the Common Market Protocol within the targeted timeframe.