Livingstone, May 16, 2019, ZANIS----Zambia is set to host the 18th meeting of the Tripartite Trade Negotiating Forum (TTNF) and the 15th Meeting of the Tripartite Committee of Senior Officials (TCSO), in Livingstone this week.

The meetings are scheduled to take place from Monday 13th May , 2019 to 15th May, 2019 and 16th to 17th May, 2019 in the tourist capital.

The Zambian delegation will be led by Commerce, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary, Kayula Siame, to be accompanied by other representatives from the Ministries of Finance, Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of National, Development Planning and Zambia Revenue Authority.

Speaking in an interview, Commerce, Trade and Industry Public Relations Officer, Godfridah Chisala said the objective of the meetings is to allow the TTNF and TCSO consider the reports of the respective lower organs and resolve matters referred to them by providing guidance as necessary.

“On Signature and Ratification of the Tripartite Free Trade Area, the 18th Meeting of the TTNF is expected to receive reports from Tripartite Member/Partner States, noting that so far, 22 Tripartite Member/Partner States have signed the TFTA Agreement with four ratifications from Egypt, Uganda, Kenya and South Africa, respectively,” she said.

Mrs Chisala said the three Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in Eastern and Southern Africa, namely, COMESA, EAC, and SADC comprised 26 countries and made up half of the African Union (AU) membership and just over 58% in terms of contribution to GDP.

“The three RECs are building blocks to the African Economic Community (AEC) recognised by the African Union Constitutive Act and the Abuja Treaty,” she said.

Mrs Chisala said as building blocks, the RECs are implementing regional integration programmes in trade and economic development covering establishment of Free Trade Areas (FTAs) Customs Union, Monetary Unions, and Common Markets.

She further said infrastructure development programmes in transport, information Communication Technologies and Energy will be the first step to the realisation of the continental integration agenda.