Towards a new free trade area between SADC, Comesa and EAC-Seychelles contributes to move tripartite process forward


Minister Adam, flanked by Dr Fanny (right) and Mr Hassan, at the meeting

The tripartite initiative between SADC (Southern African Development Community), Comesa (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) and EAC (East Africa Community) is also aimed at enhancing industrial development in the region and also ensuring that the challenges of infrastructure are addressed together with ambitions of enhancing market integration.

"Seychelles continues to be a strong advocate of free trade in the tripartite region as a driver for development. We are in these negotiations to bring more opportunities to Seychellois businesses, and to create even stronger frameworks for long term investment," said Minister Adam.

He also explained that negotiations are based on liberalising trade in eastern and southern Africa's three main trade groupings. They are based on each country making commitments to open their markets to each other's products based on the principles of 'variable geometry' – that is each country's commitments should be based on their own priorities, their level of development and sensitivities in sectors such as the environment.

"As a small island developing state in Africa, we are conscious that we will benefit most through an open partnership with our closest neighbours, while also recognising that there are certain characteristics that make our trading position unique," the minister added.

The tripartite free trade area will become one of the largest free trade areas in the world, and will create numerous opportunities for Seychelles in terms of trade, and also in terms of investment through its already extensive network of double taxation avoidance agreements in place with countries of the region.

The Seychelles delegation also included Dr Steve Fanny, principal secretary for finance and trade, and Ashik Hassan, senior trade officer in the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Investment.