GABORONE, Botswana, June 4, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The SADC Consultative meeting on CFTA/BIAT kicked off today. The meeting is organized by the AUC in collaboration with SADC Secretariat and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). The objectives of the two days meeting is to facilitate consultations and dialogue between SADC Member states on the CFTA.
In her opening remark H.E Mrs. Fatima Haram Acyl, Commissioner for Trade and Industry, highlighted that “there is a consensus on functional regional FTAs which provides a strong basis for the implementation of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), it is for this reason that we see a lot of value in supporting the implementation of SADC FTA and in the tripartite initiative of COMESA-EAC-SADC to establish FTA by 2014″. In Addition she affirmed that “the successful implementation of BIAT/CFTA initiative requires the participation of multiple stakeholders. These include the private sector, civil society, parliamentarians and academia among others.”
The meeting was also assumed by the director of SADC secretariat, Ms. Boitumelo Gofhamodimo who stated that “……BIAT action plan is aimed at addressing challenges constraining intra-African trade through programmes and activities grouped under seven clusters covering trade policy, trade facilitation, productive capacity, trade-related infrastructure, trade finance, trade information and factor market integration”, the Director said “this should resonate well with the aspirations of SADC Member states who are keen to put up coherent programmes to address problems arising out of an increasingly competitive global market environment”. In addition she said” in preparation for CFTA negotiations there are a number of lessons that can be drawn from the tripartite experience”.
Addressing the opening ceremony, the Permanent Secretary of Trade and Industry in Botswana, Mrs. Banny Molosiwa welcomed all the delegates to Gaborone to attend this critical meeting. “The meeting comes at an opportune time as it will allow us, as SADC, to introspect and to make meaningful contributions towards the Action Plan for boosting Intra-African Trade”. In addition, she said “…….Most of the SADC Members are part of the Tripartite negotiations whose main objective is to strengthen and deepen economic integration of the southern and East African regions…..therefore, full implementation of the SADC Free Trade Area, as well as meaningful progress at the Tripartite level should be the stepping stones towards conclusion of the CFTA”, In her conclusion, the Permanent Secretary of Botswana Ministry of Trade encouraged the involvement and participation of the private sectors in the process of the implementation of the CFTA. For full speech please consult our website http://ti.au.int
SADC Member States, SADC Secretariat, UNECA, Association of SADC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ASCCI) and the Botswana Confederation of Commerce and Manpower development participated in this meeting.
For further information please consult our website; http://ti.au.int
African Union Commission (AUC)