Geingob explains Free Trade Area history

09 Jul 2019 17:30pm
WINDHOEK, 09 JUL (NAMPA) – Southern African Development Community (SADC) Chairperson, Hage Geingob, explained that the Free Trade integration in Africa was longed for before the African Union (AU) was formed.
In an interview with Nampa on Monday, Geingob explained that before the AU was established in 1963, there were two groups; one which was progressive and radical led by Founding President of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere, and the other led by Ghana's first President, Kwame Nkrumah, which advocated for a solitary African government.
“Nyerere was saying they should go slowly and first deal with the regions, integrate and harmonise through the regional approach,” Geingob added.
This led to the establishment of Regional Economic Communities (RECs), which was the approach that Africa ultimately took.
RECs are regional groupings of African countries to facilitate regional economic integration which are SADC, Arab Maghreb Union (UMA), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Community of Sahel–Saharan States (CEN–SAD), East African Community (EAC), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
He then said at the first mid-year coordination AU meeting held in Niger on Monday, the individual regions reported back on their regional integration in terms of establishing a free trade area, which Geingob said was successful.
SADC launched its Free Trade Area (FTA) in August 2008 which has led to an increase in intra-regional trade to above 22 per cent of the regional GDP compared to the pre-FTA era of 16 per cent.
Also, the region also adopted and implemented the SADC Industrialisation Strategy (2015-2063) and Roadmap with its action plan (2015-2030) to facilitate technological and economic transformation.
During the meeting, Geingob also listed the burning concerns towards attaining regional integration.
“Some of the plans and commitments are either unrealistic or not fully owned by the Member States (MS). This negatively affects the implementation of the plans and the ultimate realisation of the set milestones,” Geingob reported.