Since 2008, there was talk about merging the member states of COMESA, the East African Community (EAC, with five members) and the Southern Africa Development Cooperation (SADC, with 14 members). In 2011, leaders of the 26 African countries within these three existing regional economic communities announced plans to negotiate a tripartite free trade area between them which would, cover over 600 million people and an estimated US$1 trillion in trade. In June 2011 in Johannesburg governments adopted the negotiating principles, modalities for negotiations and a roadmap for negotiating such an agreement at the 2nd Comesa-EAC-Sadc Summit. The first negotiating round was held in Nairobi in December 2011 and in June 2015 the "Tripartite Free Trade Area" or #TFTA was finally signed. It now needs to be ratified by the assemblies of parliaments of each member state to come into effect.

The texts of the FTA are here:

This agreement is to form the precursor of a continental Africa-wide FTA or CFTA.

last update: June 2015


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    • 27-Aug-2015 The Chronicle Comesa drafts 2016-20 strategic plan
      Removing tariff and non-tariff barriers to facilitate increased regional trade dominated the deliberations that buttressed the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) agreement
    • 17-Jul-2015 OULEPO ARNAUD Les oubliés du libre-échange en Afrique
      La zone de libre-échange entre le COMESA-EAC-SADEC constitue la première du genre en Afrique. L’article s’interroge sur le choix des partenaire, le sort des bloc régionaux exclus et également la probable zone de libre-échange continentale de 2017
    • 24-Jun-2015 Le Point Afrique Afrique - Zone de libre-échange tripartite : que va-t-elle changer ?
      "La création d’institutions seules ne changera pas la face du commerce intra-africain", préviennent les experts de l’agence Standard & Poor’s.
    • 16-Jun-2015 Politis Le TFTA, grand oublié du libre-échange
      Selon l’Union africaine « Les réels gagnants [du TFTA] seraient les multinationales étrangères au continent. »
    • 15-Jun-2015 RFI La Tripartite, nouvel accord de libre-échange entre 26 pays d’Afrique
      Vingt-six pays d’Afrique de l’Est ont signé, mercredi 10 juin à Charm el-Cheikh, un traité de libre-échange.
    • 11-Jun-2015 Deutsche Welle Half of Africa joins in a free trade zone
      African leaders have established a single free trade area encompassing 26 countries and 625 million people in eastern and southern Africa. And next week, they’ll kick off a process to negotiate an all-Africa trade pact.
    • 9-Jun-2015 FTA completion depends on unification of origin rules, customs: Abdel Nour
      The completion of the Free Trade Area (FTA) procedures among the three African blocs, SADC, COMESA and the East African Community (EAC), depends on the unification of the rules of origin and tariff, according to Egypt’s Minister of Industry and Trade Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour.
    • 8-Jun-2015 AFP African officials say trade deal ready for signing
      The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) spanning 26 countries is to be launched at a summit of heads of state and government on Wednesday in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.
    • 29-May-2015 Xinhua Africa to launch Continental Free Trade Agreement negotiations
      African countries will launch the Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) negotiations at the upcoming African Union Summit scheduled for mid-June this year, it was announced on Thursday.
    • 18-May-2015 Mwanakatwe joins other African ministers for pre- Continental Free Trade Area launch in Ethiopia
      Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister , Margaret Mwanakatwe joined other African Union Ministers of Trade, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for a high level meeting convened by the African Union to prepare for the launch of negotiations for the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).
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