The SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax visited the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretariat in Lusaka, Zambia. The visit took place on 16 July 2019, on the margins of the 21st meeting of the Ministerial Committee of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. The SADC Executive Secretary was received by Dr. Dev Haman, the Assistant Secretary General for Administration and Finance and his Team, who was Acting as Secretary General.
The Acting Secretary General welcomed Dr. Tax and conveyed Her Excellency, Ms Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe the substantive Secretary’s General’s gratitude for the visit. Appreciating the warm reception, Dr. Tax stated that her visit was premised on the continued collaboration between the two parties on a number of regional integration matters, including on Tripartite Work Programme that Southern African Development Community (SADC) is implementing jointly with (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC).
COMESA as the current Chairperson of the Tripartite Task Force updated Dr. Tax that out of the twenty-seven (27) Tripartite Member States, five (5) Member States (Kenya, Egypt, Uganda, Rwanda, and South Africa) have ratified the Tripartite FTA. Fourteen (14) ratifications are required to cause the Tripartite FTA to come into force. The two Parties underscored that the Tripartite FTA remains critical in the operationalisation of the African Continental FTA, noting that at the Tripartite level, the exchange of tariff offers between EAC and SACU, and between Egypt have been successfully concluded. It was also noted that work under the Infrastructure and Industrial Development Pillars is progressing well, and a meeting to move the programme forward has been convened to take place on 27 – 28 August 2019, in Gaborone, Botswana. Dr. Tax thanked and congratulated COMESA for the good work and progress made. Dr. Tax, invited all members to Gaborone, and assured of SADC’s cooperation and support during the meeting, while in Gaborone.
The two Secretariats as part of the Tripartite Task Force concluded with a resolve to intensify collaboration with Members States and the EAC with a view to move the ratification of the Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement forward. The Tripartite Task Force comprises Chief Executives of SADC, COMESA, and EAC.
The meeting also deliberated on the SADC, COMESA, and Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) Cross-Border Migration Management Programme, designed as a cross-regional intervention under the European Development Fund (EDF) 11th envelope. The two parties emphasized the importance of the Cross-border MigrationManagement Programme, and the need for consultations among all parties, and ownership by the Dully Mandated Regional Organizations (DMROs). It was proposed that a DMROs Coordination meeting be held in November 2019, to receive progress on cross-border programmes under EDF 11. Proposal to be communicated to the DMROs by the Current Chairperson, the EAC Secretary General.
The meeting concluded with an invitation to Dr. Tax to attend the COMESA silver jubilee on 6 December 2019, to commemorate the 25 years of COMESA in shaping the socio-economic trajectory of the common market. Dr. Tax also conveyed her greetings to the Secretary General of COMESA and Chairperson of the Tripartite Task Force, Her Excellency, Ms Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe, and pledged her continued unwavering support to her.