China is playing a key role in promoting regional integration by supporting infrastructural developments in Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) member states, says Sindiso Ngwenya, Secretary General of the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
In an interview with Xinhua at the sidelines of the Global African Investment Summit in Rwanda capital Kigali, Ngwenya noted that China’s contribution to regional integration was boosting intra-African trade on the continent.
Rwanda hosts the high level investment forum from 5th to 6th September 2016, aimed at delivering international trade and investment to Africa’s most dynamic region.
TFTA brings together three of Africa’s major regional economic communities, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC), and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
“China’s continuous contribution to the regional integration and the building of the Great COMESA-SADC-EAC Free Trade Zone is vital to our regional countries to increase trade and investments among TFTA bloc,” Comesa secretary general said.
He called on other countries to emulate China’s efforts towards realization of strong regional integration in Africa.
“We have seen Chinese investment in many African counties especially in the areas of infrastructure and energy development, agriculture, human resource development and capacity building skills and culture among others. China’s support to Africa is crucial towards achieving Agenda 2063,” he said.
Agenda 2063 is the African continent’s vision for development and socio-economic transformation over the next 50 years.
Presently only three of Africa’s eight regional economic communities are participating in the TFTA. Non-participating economic blocs include the Arab Maghreb Union, the Economic Community of West African States, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the Economic Community of Central African States and the Community of Sahel-Saharan States.
Ngwenya pointed out two important things that investors will look at in the continent are the market size and a conducive business/investment climate.