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Regional trade set to receive boost from AFD grant

17.10.2013

The African Development Bank has announced its approval of a $7.5 million (R90 million) grant to finance the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Capacity Building Programme (TCBP) for its 26 Tripartite Regional Member-Countries, (which includes the Republic of Seychelles) with a view of increasing intra-tripartite trade.

Minister of Finance, Trade and Industry, Pierre Laporte, said that the grant would assist Seychelles as a member state of COMESA and SADC to implement the regional integration process and addresses the challenges of multiple memberships.

“The Government of Seychelles welcomes the approval of the grant for capacity building purposes,” he said. “We are continually working with our regional trade partners to move our trade forward for the prosperity of the Seychellois people and to encourage growth in the region, and this grant will help overcome some of the obstacles.”

The vision of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite arrangement is to create a single market for the Tripartite Region consisting 26 countries that make up the REC of EAC, SADC and COMESA. The 26 Countries make up half of the African Union (AU) in terms of membership, about 58% in terms of contribution to GDP and 57% of the total population of the African Union.

The vision will be achieved through a development approach to regional integration that is anchored in three main pillars: market integration, infrastructure and industrial development.

The infrastructure pillar of the arrangement concentrates on improving the region’s infrastructure so as to improve the efficiency of internal trade and transport network to create interconnectivity between the member states, to facilitate trade and movement of factors of production. It also seeks to develop industrial and supply side programmes that can take advantage of improvements in market integration and infrastructural development.

Some of the expected outputs of the programme include installation of software for Non-Tariff Measures databases and enhancing capacity to manage sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade. Furthermore, it will also improve capacity to negotiate market access and undertake implementation and strengthen capacity to develop industrial clusters and value chains.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Paul Adam stated: “The grant not only adds impetus and fiscal dynamism to Seychelles but also displays the trust that our partners have placed in us. Furthermore, positive growth within the region is inextricably linked to our own and this grant will help in strengthening our existing ties with our regional partners.”

The roadmap for the tripartite arrangement was endorsed by the Heads of State and Governments at the first Tripartite Summit held in Kampala, Uganda in 2008.  Seychelles is actively participating in the negotiations under the three pillars and the next Summit is expected to take place in Egypt in the first quarter of 2014. The first result of the arrangement is the launch the Free Trade Area scheduled for June 2014.

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