Africa free trade area gets UK support

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pretoria - Exploring commercial opportunities and finding the best means of supporting the African Free Trade Area (FTA) initiative will be the order of the day when UK Prime Minister David Cameron touches down in South Africa tomorrow.

Cameron will meet with President Jacob Zuma, who will brief the prime minister on progress made to date on the creation of the Tripartite FTA between the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and East African Community (EAC).

The creation of a single FTA would see the coming together of a combined population of approximately 700 million people and a Gross Domestic Product of US$875 billion from 26 countries. This would open borders to approximately half of the continent, spanning the entire southern and eastern regions of Africa - from Cape to Cairo.

Talks between the two leaders are expected to centre on how SA and the UK can work together to build strong, sustainable, open and inclusive economies, which promote national economic stability, regional and international growth.

Bilateral business relations and the realisation of safe and secure societies, including counter terrorism and weapons proliferation, will also form part of the discussions.

South Africa and the UK have a cooperation agreement, and Cameron's visit will give the two countries an opportunity to craft a mutually beneficial strategy that will ensure collaboration in issues of sustainable development, peace and security, good governance and other socio-economic matters.

The Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Trade and Industry Rob Davies and Finance Pravin Gordhan will also be part of the talks.

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