South Africa’s High Commissioner to Tanzania and the East African Community Thamsanqa D. Mseleku, has said his country was committed to the creation of strong and viable Regional Economic Communities (RECs) across the entire continent, adding that RECs were the surest way to achieve the founding fathers’ dream of Pan-Africanism.
Amb Mseleku said South Africa was keen to ensure that African countries build on the gains made in regional integration, democratisation, economic growth, good governance, security and political stability.
While presenting credentials to the EAC Secretary General Ambassador Richard Sezibera, Amb Mseleku noted that while Africa had made significant gains in these areas, there were still major challenges to be surmounted citing the situations in Burundi, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Somalia.
“On the economic front, there are sudden problems emerging in the world which have a negative impact on African economies most of which are mainly resource based,” he said.
The envoy said his country was open to increased cooperation and partnerships with the EAC, which he described as Africa’s fastest growing economic bloc.
In his remarks, Dr Sezibera hailed Amb. Mseleku on his appointment as South Africa’s High Commissioner to the EAC.
“We consider South Africa as a very strong partner of the EAC. South Africa is a strong leader in terms of Pan-Africanism. South Africa’s leadership cuts across regional economic blocs and countries,” said Dr Sezibera.
Dr Sezibera said the EAC was trying to form a Political Federation as its contribution to Pan-Africanism, the realisation of which he said would reverse the negative legacy of colonialism on the continent.
“We have a Customs Union, a Common Market and are working towards the attainment of a single currency for the region by 2024. We are also working together with the South African Development Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa to create a free trade area and to make it work,” said the SG, adding that he looked forward to South Africa providing leadership during the tripartite negotiations.
He said that for regional integration to succeed, big economies must be willing to make sacrifices more because in the end they will be the biggest beneficiaries.
“There will be a temporary loss but big economies like South Africa, Kenya and Egypt will inevitably gain more in the end,” he said.
He also praised South Africa’s efforts in trying to mediate a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Burundi and South Sudan.