Regional ministers work for closer economic ties


Delegates during the final session of the meeting yesterday

Their two-day meeting – the second of its kind – took place at the Kempinski resort on Monday and yesterday and was chaired by the Seychelles Minister for Finance, Trade and Investment Pierre Laporte.

The countries represented were Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles and Zambia. Also present were representatives of global organisations like the World Bank.
The delegates decided what follow-up action is necessary and signed minutes of the just-concluded meeting.

When he launched the meeting, Mr Laporte reminded them that in the previous meeting they set up the goal of speeding up the pace of economic integration among our countries to boost trade and investment.

“We agreed that we need to implement reforms that would streamline trade regulation and processes, improve business climate, enhance trade in services, improve public financial management, trade facilitation and trade logistics, value addition in agricultural sector and eliminate non tariff barriers,” he said. 

“We also gave ourselves some months to come up with a clear roadmap for removal of constraints to trade and investment based on the matrix we agreed,” he said, noting that public-private national working groups had been formed and they have discussed the priorities at the national level.”

He said that during a February 2013 meeting held in Mauritius to prepare for the just-ended ministerial meeting, technicians came up with an action matrix which indicated the desired goals, the constraints the countries faced and actions needed to remove the hurdles within three years.

Saying the delegates came from “five like-minded countries”, he said they sought to agree on a set of policy reforms they would like to prioritise to strengthen economic linkages and support the exchange in goods and services among our economies.

“Based on the agreements we reached after these two-day meetings, it is expected that our technical staff develop a work programme for each of our countries for the next semester.
The ministers also sought to identify areas needing technical assistance and/or peer to peer knowledge sharing and learning that can be supported by our development partners like the World Bank.
He noted with gratitude that the bank was represented and supported the meeting.

Mr Laporte said this week’s meeting came just before the Bank-Fund Spring forum to be held in April 2013, offering a chance for the Accelerated Programme for Economic Integration to be discussed with the vice-president of the World Bank and to request for technical and financial support for the programme.

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