Africa looking after its own affairs

Logo of the Southern African Development Community

President Jacob Zuma will lead a South African delegation to a special meeting of the Southern African Development Community‘s (SADC’s) security troika in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on Thursday.

Zuma is attending the meeting in his capacity as chair of the SADC’s Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.

He will be joined by Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and Mozambique President Armando Guebuza, who together make up the organ.

High on Thursday’s agenda will be reports on recent political and security developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Madagascar, as well as Zimbabwe’s elections.

South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation said the 15-nation SADC was still the primary vehicle for South Africa to promote regional development and integration within the southern African region.

“South Africa has a vested interest in seeing the regional political and security situation improve, which will create positive conditions for the improvement of the quality of life of South Africans and SADC citizens in general,” the department said in a statement on Wednesday.

Zuma will be accompanied by International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who is already in Dar es Salaam for a meeting of the ministers involved in the body.

via Zuma to lead SADC security meeting – SouthAfrica.info.

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Africa signs agreement for Africa Free Trade Zone

A Landsat image of Cape Town overlaid on SRTM ...

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The leaders of three African regional economic blocs signed an agreement to develop a free trade zone stretching from Cape Town to Cairo.

The so-called Grand Free Trade Area would encompasses 26 countries, 600 million people and have an estimated gross domestic product of about $1 trillion, according to a statement released after a conference in Johannesburg today.

“The establishment of a Tripartite Free Trade Area will bolster intra-regional trade by creating a wider market, increase investment flows, enhance competitiveness and develop cross-regional infrastructure,” according to the statement.

The meeting was attended by leaders from the Southern African Development Community, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, and the East African Community. It is their second since an initial summit in October 2008. They agreed to further negotiations, without publishing any timeframes.

South African President Jacob Zuma told a press conference that Africa needs to remove hurdles to the movement of goods across boundaries and that infrastructure development must lift intra-Africa trade “from the current low base of 10 percent.”

South Africa, the continent’s largest economy, is driving regional integration as it seeks to create a larger market for companies such as Shoprite Holdings Ltd. (SHP), Africa’s biggest retailer. Africa’s economy has grown an average of 5.7 percent each year over the past decade, according to the International Monetary Fund, fueling the expansion of a new middle class.

via African Trade Blocs Sign Agreement to Develop Continental Free Trade Zone – Bloomberg