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: http://www.tralac.org/resources/by-region/comesa-eac-sadc-tripartite-fta.html.
This agreement is to form the precursor of a continental Africa-wide FTA or CFTA.
last update: June 2015
photo: Tahrir Institute
TFTA states that its aims include harmonisation and improvement of regional trading arrangements, enhancement of trade facilitation.
In a bid to eliminate possible problems associated with sugar trade in Africa’s new trade agreement, the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), sugar industries of the bloc have resolved to speak in one unified voice.
Removing tariff and non-tariff barriers to facilitate increased regional trade dominated the deliberations that buttressed the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) agreement
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.
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.
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).
Plans by African leaders to launch an ambitious Free Trade Area comprising of 26 countries and backed by over 600 million people next month are in the right direction for the private sector.
The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) covering 26 countries will be launched in May, it has been agreed.
A senior official of African Union (AU) said Tuesday the long-awaited tripartite free trade area between three regional blocs is expected to be launched in May in Cairo, Egypt.
Most of the clauses in the agreement — to be signed this month in Cairo — have been finalised, apart from the preamble and the rules of origin.