The Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern African states: A Legal perspective
Simbyakula, Robert Ngosa
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The recently established Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern African States (hereinafter referred to as the PTA) is not a new innovation in this part of Africa. Regional economic co-operation dates back to the era of colonial rule. Inter-territorial economic links were established by the colonial powers between the various territories under their rule. There were various treaties, legislative enactments etc, which resulted in the creation of a number of economic institutions to regulate trade between the territories.With the attainment of political independence the new emergent states were reluctant to sever those economic links established during colonial rule. Not only has it been recognised that most African states' economies are potentially complimentary but also that the key to economic development lies in unity and economic co-operation. The crucial issue, however, is that there has not always been a clear appreciation of the nature of economic co-operation which is possible and desirable in Africa. All over Africa there have been various attempts at joint economic activity with a view to foster development. Sadly, however, these attempts have met with little or no success at all. Nevertheless, African leaders must be given credit for their perseverance and optimistic attitude towards unity. At the Summit Conference of Heads of State and Government of Eastern and Southern African States, which was held in Lusaka, Zambia on December 21, 1981, nine countries signed the Treaty establishing the PTA. The nine were the Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Somalia, Uganda and Zambia. The sub-region comprises of eighteen states and if they all ratify the Treaty the PTA will become the largest regional economic grouping in Africa. The region embraces different political and cultural set-ups; it spans the continent from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean; and covers three official languages; English, French and Portuguese. Many questions, however, do come to mind: Does the PTA offer anything positive? Indeed will this arrangement succeed where others-such as the now defunct East African Economic Community-have failed? It is the aim of this dissertation to look at the legal regime governing the PTA. A comparative analysis of other similar regional economic groupings (such as the now defunct East African Economic Community, the Latin American Free Trade Area, the European Economic Community, SADCC, the Andean Pact etc) will be made. Such comparison will enable us to determine whether or not the PTA is a viable venture. Ultimately we shall be able to determine not only whether the legal regime is adequate or economic inequalities among member States that may frustrate the arrangement. Needless to say, such a study would be incomplete without giving a brief history of similar economic arrangements which existed during the colonial era. It is proposed to deal with this study under the following heads:- 1.General Background 2.Institutional framework 3.The Trade liberalization scheme 4.A Comparative Analysis 5.Conclusion: hopes and loopholes.
- Law