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Regional free trade area should not be rushed

Published on July 17, 2015

When the heads of states and governments of COMESA, EAC and SADC met in Kampala on  October 22, 2008, they conveyed in their communiqué a sense of urgency and approved the expeditious establishment of a single Free Trade Area (FTA) covering 26 out of the 54 countries that make up the African continent.

The three regional economic groupings (RECs) also directed that a study be prepared on a legal and institutional framework to underpin the FTA with the ultimate goal of establishing a single customs union.

Seven years later, on June 10, 2015, the heads of state and government of the COMESA, EAC and SADC gathered at the luxury Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt and launched the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA).

The Tripartite FTA represents an integrated market of 26 countries with a combined population of 632 million people, which is 57 per cent of Africa’s population; and with a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $1.3 trillion (2014), and contributes 58 per cent of Africa’s GDP. Read more. Source | the Obsever