Building capacity to help Africa trade better

A Permanent Summit of the Heads of State and Government for SACU: How and Why?

Trade Briefs

A Permanent Summit of the Heads of State and Government for SACU: How and Why?

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Regional integration features prominently in the development strategies of most African countries. The current regional integration agenda for East and Southern Africa is ambitious. The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) member states have agreed to a new vision for deeper integration, and as part of SACU’s legal and institutional development, to institutionalize a Summit of Heads of State and Government. The Southern African Development Community (SADC), which includes all the SACU member states, is consolidating its Free Trade Area, and the East African Community has started the implementation of its common market, which was launched in mid-2010. The 26 member states of SADC, EAC and COMESA have agreed to establish a Tripartite Free Area; a draft Agreement and 14 Annexes have been prepared, but negotiations have not yet begun.

tralac is preparing a series of Trade Briefs focusing on key issues related to the African integration agenda, focusing specifically on the agenda of member states in East and Southern Africa.

This Trade Brief is the fourth in the series and explores the benefits that would ensue from establishing a permanent Summit of Heads of State and Government of SACU.

The other Trade Briefs in this series are available below:

  • The first Trade Brief focused on ‘sovereignty.’ Sovereignty is a characteristic of states, which can exercise their sovereignty by entering into international agreements, such as regional trade agreements. Concerns are often raised about ‘the loss of state sovereignty’ resulting from regional integration. These and other issues are considered. Read the Trade Brief here: “What to do about Sovereignty when Regional Integration is pursued?

  • The second Trade Brief focused on decision making in regional organizations. Reference to decision making procedures and processes within SACU are used as a point of reference. Read the Trade Brief here: “Decision-making in Regional Organisations

  • The third Trade Brief explored whether the proposed Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) undermine regional integration in Southern Africa. Read the Trade Brief here: “Do EPAs undermine regional integration in Southern Africa?


Readers are encouraged to quote and reproduce this material for educational, non-profit purposes, provided the source is acknowledged. All views and opinions expressed remain solely those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the views of tralac.

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A Permanent Summit of the Heads of State and Government for SACU: How and Why? - Author(s): Gerhard Erasmus

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