The Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena L Tax today 6 July 2015 in Gaborone met with the Secretary General of COMESA, Mr Sindiso Ngwenya to formally receive the Chairpersonship of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Task Force (TTF). The Tripartite Task Force’s main role is to coordinate and provide technical and administrative support to the Tripartite process. The Chairpersonship of the TTF rotates annually among the three REC Secretariats and Dr Tax will therefore preside over the Task Force for the next 12 months.
The two CEOs noted the significant milestone for the three regions in particular and Africa as a whole represented by the launching of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt on 10 June 2015. They stressed that the urgent challenge now is for the three RECs to ensure that the Tripartite programme is effectively implemented as soon as possible so that it will benefit all its Member/Partner States and in particular the business community. The Tripartite is expected to unleash immense new opportunities for increased trade and investments that will be offered by an enlarged market of a total of 625million inhabitants with a combined GDP of over $1.3 trillion. Towards this end they agreed to make all efforts to increase the number of countries to sign the TFTA Agreement from 16 to 25, resolve the outstanding issues on tariff offers, rules of origin and trade remedies, and called upon Member States to speed up ratification. Dr Tax expressed her commitment to advance and achieve these goals while working in close coordination with both her colleagues in COMESA and EAC.