Herald Reporter

Zimbabwe is in the process of coming up with its development strategy within the context of implementing the Tripartite Free Trade Area incorporating the Common Market For Eastern and Southern Africa, the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community, whose trade agreement was signed in June 2015, legislators heard yesterday.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo said implementation of the agreement was on course and Zimbabwe could capitalise on its highly skilled labour to benefit from it.

Minister Moyo was moving a motion in the National Assembly to have Parliament ratify the Tripartite agreement signed at Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt on 10 June 2015.

“The implementation of the agreement is in progress,” he said. “The secretariat has been put in place and it will be based in Ghana. Zimbabwe has come up with its own development strategy. We have high skills and we have the potential to benefit from the agreement.”

Some MPs said Zimbabwe might not benefit meaningfully from the tripartite agreement, given that South Africa, Zimbabwe’s major trading partner, was not a member of Comesa.

“South Africa, although is not a member of Comesa, but it is a member of Sadc, so if Sadc ratifies this agreement, South Africa would have entered into the agreement through the back-door,” said Minister Moyo.

In his contribution, Norton MP Mr Temba Mliswa said it was time Sadc focused more on economic development than politics.

There was need to look at harmonisation of issues like languages and currency as what obtained in other regional groupings. The National Assembly latter adopted the motion to ratify the treaty. Ratification of the treaty was done in terms of Section 327 of the Constitution that provides that an international treaty which has been concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament.

Latter on, Minister Moyo said the re-engagement efforts were working as Zimbabwe continued to engage with those countries that had sought to isolate it after it embarked on land reform.

Delivering a Ministerial statement, Minister Moyo said the country had signed several investment deals, an indication that the international community was showing confidence in the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa.

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