African leaders signed a 26-nation free trade pact to create a common market covering 26 countries in an area from Cape Town in the south to Cairo in the north.
The one trade regime is expected to reduce the costs of doing business in the African Continent and create a single market.
The deal, signed in Egypt, is intended to ease the movement of goods across member countries which represent more than half the continent's GDP.
African governments have been discussing ways to boost intra-African trade however the poor state of roads, railways and airlines has made it difficult. The idea to create a big economic bloc was mooted in 2008 in Uganda as a first step to the realization of a single customs union and ultimately merge the three the regional communities.
Three existing trade blocs – the Southern African Development Community (Sadc); the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) are to be united into a single new zone.
Africa's many regional blocs have not really aided continental trade so far and the African Development Bank has often said that the focus should rather be on developing infrastructure. Nevertheless if it is implemented in a reasonable time-frame and there is sufficient political will to follow through, then it marks a new beginning for local trade.
The idea behind it is to remove trade barriers on most goods, making them cheaper, and stimulating $1tn worth of economic activity across the region of more than 600 million people.
The deal in Egypt was the first step and it will need to be approved by each country's parliament, before the wheels are set in motion. It is hoped that this will happen by 2017.
This week’s Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting held at State House chaired by Party President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, turned into a ‘boardroom brawl’ with Masisi expressing concerns and accusing central committee members of not adequately shielding him from opposition missiles.
The meeting which was held on Monday this week was to deliberate on a number of agenda items but the President took the moment to tongue lash his inner circle to stop silly PR blunders that are causing more harm than good. The reprimand was mostly directed to party Secretary General Mpho Balopi as well as Chairman of Communications and International Relations sub-committee, Kagelelo Banks Kentse.
It took the intervention of the Permanent Secretary to the President, Elias Magosi to arrest a dispute between the warring Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), by instructing the former to hand over the unfinished P100 billion docket to the latter.
But the PSP’s efforts are not enough, the two institutions are back in the boxing ring again following a letter from the DPP inviting the DCEC back into a case they long declared as “hogwash”. A savingram dated 18th January 2021 from the DPP to the DCEC is calling on the DCEC to assist with further evidence in the P100 billion case, but the DCEC which has never hidden its indifference posits that the move by the DPP can be summed up by the expressions: ‘opening healing wounds’.
A fed-up Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Director General, Tymon Katlholo has come out guns blazing over an order from the Director of the Directorate of Public
Prosecutions (DPP), Stephen Tiroyakgosi instructing the DCEC, to solicit a statement from the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, and ruling party Member of Parliament for Mochudi East, Mabuse Pule, regarding the role he played in the issuance of Whelheminah Maswabi’s intelligence operations passport.