Working Papers

Tripartite Agribusiness Opportunities for South Africa

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01 Mar 2011

Author(s): Ron Sandrey

tralac has been collaborating with the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) in South Africa during the past year on a project which focuses on the proposed Tripartite Free Trade Area (FTA). The Tripartite FTA is envisaged to consist of the 26 member states of the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), establishing a free trade area stretching from Cape to Cairo. The research papers focus on different aspects of the trade in goods agenda; including a review of intra-African trade and agri-business development in this region. These papers are included in a book, entitled Cape to Cairo – an Assessment of the Tripartite Free Trade Area.

The modern focus of trade is to move past commodity trade and try to search out more value-added products that offer opportunities for producers, processors and traders. The objective of this paper is to start with an examination of the implications of regional integration for South Africa (RSA). This has been done using the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) trade database to look at what the tripartite region is importing and what South Africa is exporting in order to get a preliminary idea of where opportunities exist. The emphasis is on opportunities in the more distant East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) markets because the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) market is already integrated and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is hopefully moving in that direction with its own Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Conscious that the FAO database provides trade data only for agricultural outputs, World Trade Atlas data has been used for an indication of where opportunities may lie in the wider agribusiness input sectors.


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