The Tripartite Summit that has attracted several African Heads of State from three economic blocs opens today in Kampala, Uganda.
The meet that will be attended by a delegation from Rwanda is seen by observers as a forum that could pave the way for the integration of the Commonn Market for Eastern Southern Africa (Comesa), the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and the East Africa Community (EAC).
Preliminary meetings of ministers and technocrats started at the Commonwealth Resort Hotel Munyonyo on the shores of Lake Victoria near Kampala. Their deliberations are expected to be endorsed by the heads of state on Wednesday.
Stephen Karangizi, Comesa Assistant Secretary General said on Sunday that the three regional communities were building blocs to a single economic community for Africa.
Uganda Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday that Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and the new South African president, Kgalema Motlanthe, have confirmed their attendance.
The secretary generals for the three economic groupings are already in the country as well as ministers for EAC affairs.
The three blocs with an estimated market of more than 500 million people want to harmonise the different Customs Unions and other trade related issues.
The move is to facilitate trade among member countries and spur economic development in Africa. The proposed merger comes at a time the region is making efforts to do away with multiple partnerships to different economic blocs that critics have said duplication of roles.
Rwanda and Burundi, Kenya and Uganda have loyalty to Comesa while Tanzania is a member of Sadc. Leaders from the EAC member countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi are attending the summit.
Reports from Kampala also indicate that Comesa states including Egypt, Libya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and the Comoros are participating.
Other Comesa member countries attending are: Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Madagascar, Seychelles, Mauritius, Malawi, Sudan, and Swaziland. While the SADC members including South Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho, Namibia and Botswana are attending.
This is the first time that the blocs meet following last month’s approval in Nairobi by Comesa of a proposed merger with the SADC.