bilaterals.org logo
bilaterals.org logo

COMESA

The Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) was established by a treaty signed on 5 November 1993 in Kampala, Uganda. The agreement was ratified a year later in Lilongwe, Malawi on 8 December 1994. The COMESA treaty builds on an earlier preferential trade agreement and is aimed at creating a common market in Eastern and Southern Africa.

As a trade bloc, COMESA has 19 member countries: Angola, Burundi, Comoros, D.R. Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In October 2008, the member states of COMESA, the East African Community (EAC, with five members) and the Southern Africa Development Cooperation (SADC, with 14 members) agreed to merge as one giant 26-member tripartite free trade area (TFTA). (There is some overlap in membership among the current blocs.) This will take some time, as the three have different levels of economic integration.

As of late 2016, the implementation of the TFTA still faced unresolved issues, including tariff offers, rules of origin, trade remedies and dispute settlement.

last update: March 2017


COMESA Business Council Makes 21 Recommendations On Seed Trade
The COMESA Business Council recently convened a webinar on “Unlocking Food Security Through Improved Seed Trade in COMESA” aimed at discussing issues of access to quality and affordable seed and challenges in trade facilitation in the movement of seed across borders amidst COVID-19.
COMESA Resolves 95% Of NTBs At Borders
At least 82% of the reported Non-Tariff Barriers in the COMESA region are those imposed on imports and exports of goods and services and are largely operational by design. According to trade experts, these type of NTBs are easy to identify and monitor.
Comesa states to face sanctions for new NTBs
Member states in the Comesa trading bloc who introduce new non-tariff barriers to trade may face sanctions as trade experts prepare to present this tough condition to Heads of State.
COMESA seeks solutions to digital free trade area
Implementation of the much anticipated Digital Free Trade Area (DFTA) in central-Eastern Africa bloc will have to wait until member states agree on harmonization of policies.
Kenyan Sugar Gets Extra 1 Year Comesa Safeguard
Kenya has been granted a one-year extension of sugar import limits from the regional trade bloc Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to revamp its ailing sugar industry.
COMESA tackles maize trade
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has launched a roadmap that will address differences in standards and regulations that hinder regional trade in maize.
COMESA prepares for regional trade facilitation
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has conducted training workshops for stakeholders in transit trade in preparation for the implementation of regional trade facilitation instruments.
COMESA courts Australia on mineral policy
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is working with the government of Western Australia to develop a harmonised regional mineral policy focusing on the legal and regulatory framework.
Ethiopia signs 1.1 mln. Euro agreement with Comesa
Ethiopia signed Friday a grant agreement of 1.1 million Euros with COMESA to finance its regional integration programmes.
COMESA economic investment forum in Egypt next October
“We are studying establishing a unit at GAFI to provide economic and investment information to African countries,” says investment minister