Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Matibini calls for intra-Africa trade
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Sat 17 Aug. 2013, 14:01 CAT

SPEAKER of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini says Africa needs to eliminate the unfortunate legacy of conducting more trade with other continents when there is very little intra-Africa trade. And Speaker Matibini says Africa's present state is due to colonialism.

Speaker Matibini, who is currently attending a conference at the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) in South Africa, said yesterday that to enhance trade on the continent, Africa needed to address the question of eliminating barriers by harmonising policies and legislation, stressing that that was one of the subjects being looked at during the ongoing meeting.

He said what needed to be looked at was taking advantage of each country's competitive advantage and maximise their use in the region.

Speaker Matibini cited the development of telecommunications, the road and rail network as some of the key infrastructure that needed to be rationalised in order to push the agenda for the region.

"The unfortunate legacy that needs to be replaced is where most of the trade is actually done with other continents; Europe, Americas, the Asia and so forth; and yet among Africa countries there is very little trade going on," Speaker Matibini observed in a statement issued by first secretary for press at Zambia's High Commission in South Africa, Patson Chilemba.

He stressed the need for the development of strategies within the legislative branches of government that would assist their counterparts in the Executive to accelerate the integration of African economies, thereby increasing trade which would then translate into poverty reduction and wealth sharing.

Speaker Matibini said the Zambian Parliament was part of the broad strategy to ensure that Africa harmonised its policies and programmes for increased international trade on the continent, adding that in the absence of legislative power, PAP could come up with prototype laws which could then be adopted by member countries.

"Through participation of the Speakers and delegates to PAP, members of parliament, together they can develop legislation which would be sold, so to speak, to the national Parliaments so that we develop a common approach and standards towards legislation," Speaker Matibini said, adding that this was feasible.

"You see we have so much in common than differences. And as you know Africa in its present state, boundaries etc, is actually a legacy of colonialism…I think it would be beneficial if we use all our comparative advantages to ensure that we promote trade amongst African countries."

Speaker Matibini was leading a Zambian delegation to the 2013 Conference of Speakers of African Parliaments in Midrand, South Africa. The conference which started on Thursday ended yesterday.

Other members of the delegation included Doris Katai Mwinga, Clerk of the National Assembly; Roy Ngulube, executive assistant to the Speaker, and John Chelu, aide-de-camp to the Speaker.

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