Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi stressed that the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Summit, that kicked off here earlier Wednesday, is a turning point in the history of the African economic integration.
"We are setting up a tripartite trade area that groups 26 African states with a population of 625 million and a total Gross Domestic Product of 1.2 trillion dollars," Sisi said while addressing the summit of the three African economic blocs.
President Sisi expressed Egypt's keenness on boosting all initiatives of the African Union as well as regional projects aiming at developing the infrastructure in the African continent and creating a road network.
These initiatives and projects come as part of Africa infrastructure program aiming at achieving inter-African cooperation to address deteriorating infrastructure in energy, communications, transportation and water resources management, the president said.
The program also aims at providing the necessary funds to develop these important sectors to achieve a sustainable development in Africa, Sisi added.
"What we are doing today is an important step on the road of setting up an African Economic Community in accordance with 1980 Lagos plan, 1991 Abuja Treaty and in compliance with 2063 agenda that constitutes a collective vision for our African continent and a road map for the coming 50 years so that Africa would become an effective power on the international arena by 2063," he added.
To implement this agenda, Sisi said, ambitious programs and frameworks were laid down, including setting up an African free trade area by 2017, linking African countries together through high-level infrastructure projects in the energy, transportation, information technology and communications domains and setting up African financial institutions based on agreed-upon timetables.
The Egyptian president referred to the lately-opened Qostul-Ashkeet land road that links Egypt with Sudan and construction efforts of the second route linking Cairo with Cape Town. "We hope to open this road within the coming period", Sisi said.
He also referred to Egypt's tireless efforts to complete maritime line linking Lake of Victoria with the Mediterranean as part of the NEPAD projects.