The Member of Parliament for Pan African Parliament (PAP) and for the Shoshong constituency, Dikgang Phillip Makgamele, has called for concerted effort to ensure that regional trade integration benefits various communities’ trade in Africa.
Makgamele said that “regional integration must be promoted as a key agenda for community trade amongst our member states”.
He was speaking at a Pan African Parliament’s Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigration meeting held in Gaborone last week.
The Pan African Parliament is a legislative wing of the African Union Governance system that was founded to provide a platform for the representatives of the ordinary people in Africa.
“Our communities must, amongst others, appreciate that market for their goods and services goes beyond the borders of their respective countries and developments in the globe do affect them,” he said, adding that international treaties and trade agreements benefit rural economies by reducing trade barriers thereby improving access to markets for the countries involved.
He highlighted that the issue of regional integration is not very much known within the Pan African Parliament and, as such, parliamentarians should be sufficiently included in the ongoing trade negotiations in the region.
“Regional integration hardly reaches the ordinary citizenry resulting in a situation where trade hardly happens at community level within member states,” he said.
Magkamele said enough analysis has been done in Africa on opportunities that can be brought about by regional integration, but what remains now are bread and butter actions towards the realization of this dream.
He urged ministers and MPs, when addressing community meetings like Kgotla and local councils, to promote regional integration at community level and get views from various communities on how regional integration can best benefit the communities.
Africa is the wealthiest continent in terms of natural resources. Despite this enormous wealth it remains a very small player in terms of international trade and cannot profit from trade as much as it should.
Magkamele said he highlighted that there are adequate enabling instruments and structures that allow for regional trade integration as an agenda for community trade, within governments and quasi governments institutions.