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Malawi ready to ratify Tripartite Free Trade Area

By Chimwemwe Mangazi:

Capital Hill has said plans to ratify Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) are at an advanced stage as currently they are finalising administrative process.

This came out when President Peter Mutharika met Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa) Secretary General Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe where they discussed Malawi’s position on TFTA and progress on various projects under the block.

Mutharika said Malawi believes in regional integration as a key to economic growth and development.

“Africa can do better with integration and cooperation rather than competition and isolation, in fact, already, at an informal level, Africa is integrating, if you cross the border in Mchinji, you will find people trading, the same with Mozambique, Tanzania and so forth,” Mutharika said.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Emmanuel Fabiano, said that consultations on ratifying the TFTA which were mainly championed by the private sector in the country were completed and are currently working on the administrative issues.

“We finalized the consultations with the private sector we now have all the input from all stakeholders what remains now are the administrative processes that will lead to the ratification,” Fabiano said.

After a meeting in camera with the President, Kapwepwe expressed satisfaction at the progress made on Malawi ratifying the pact and showed confidence that process will be completed soon.

“I have been assured the process has already started, there were consultative meetings with the private sector to ensure that they are on board and that they are aware what this means when Malawi ratifies so I have been assure that the process is on course and am confident that Malawi will ratify,” Kapwepwe said.

TFTA agreement has been signed by 22 member countries, including Malawi, but requires 14 ratifications to enter into force.

So far, Kenya, Egypt, Uganda and, most recently, South Africa have signed and ratified the agreement.

TFTA brings together three of Africa’s major regional economic communities: Southern African Development Community, East African Community and Comesa.

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