THE director and founder of the Southern and Eastern Africa Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (Seatini), Professor Yash Tandon, has been appointed executive director of the South Ce
ntre in Geneva, Switzerland.
At his farewell reception held in Harare last week, the deputy Minister of Industry and International Trade Kenneth Manyonda said Tandon was the most respected person in international trade the world-over.
Tandon, a Ugandan national, has been in Zimbabwe for the past 24 years. He moved to Zimbabwe with his family in 1981 and worked with rural communities in the Zambezi valley where he was involved in sustainable agricultural development projects for 10 years.
“Professor Tandon has been involved in almost every facet of the region working with different institutions, including the UNDP and the government, on economic development issues,” said Manyonda.
Tandon has participated in public debates on economic and social issues. In the early 1990s when the country was forced to accept neo-liberal policies by the IMF and the World Bank, Tandon criticised these.
“When the World Trade Organisation was formed in 1995, Tandon participated in their meetings. He also attended the 1997 Singapore Ministerial Conference along with the then Minister of Trade and Industry Nathan Shamuyarira who mooted the idea of a think-tank that would help African trade negotiators,” said Manyonda.
Manyonda said his ministry had been working with Seatini for the past eight
years on trade-related issues.
“Zimbabwe and African countries are now participating in the trade regime with much information and awareness of the implications of the various trade pacts and agreements,” said Manyonda.
“We hope your vision that has seen Seatini grow to its respectable position in the international community will also be transferred to the South Centre to ensure that the interests of the south and Africa are catered for,” said Manyonda.
The South Centre, where Tandon is now director, is an inter-governmental orgarnisation of developing countries.
It was established on the recommendations of the South Commission after the Non-Aligned Movement summit held in Harare in 1986.
Zimbabwe is a member of the South Centre.