Media Statement: South Africa hosts the Second Tripartite Summit of the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)

President Jacob Zuma is this weekend hosting the Second Tripartite Summit of Heads of State and Government, at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Heads of State and Government representing 26 countries from the SADC, East African Community and COMESA regions will get together tomorrow, 12 June, to formally launch the Tripartite Free Trade Area (T-FTA) negotiations between the 26 member countries.

The T-FTA provides for the creation of a larger, integrated market with a combined Gross Domestic Product of about $625 billion and a combined population of approximately 700 million. South Africa is honoured to host this crucial and historic gathering which takes the continent forward in its quest for sustainable development and economic growth.

The Summit will give further impetus on infrastructure development, supporting industrial development and diversification to build production capacity among the member states in order to take advantage of a larger more open regional market.

The first Tripartite Summit that was held on 22 October 2008 in Kampala, Uganda agreed on a programme of harmonisation of trading arrangements amongst the three RECs (COMESA-EAC-SADC), free movement of business persons, joint implementation of inter-regional infrastructure programmes as well as institutional arrangements on the basis of which the three RECs would foster cooperation.

The summit also aims to build on the improved economic development prospects and potential in Africa; promote social and economic development; reduce poverty and inequality; deepen integration to compete more effectively in the global economy.

This evening, on the eve of the Tripartite Summit, SADC Heads of State will hold their own Extraordinary Summit to discuss Madagascar and Zimbabwe.

President Zuma will host a gala dinner this evening, 11 June, to welcome the Heads of State and Government from the three regional economic communities. 

For further information contact:

Clayson Monyela, on 082 884 5974 or Mr Sidwell Medupe, on 079 4921774  

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road
Rietondale
Pretoria

11 June 2011

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