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
If one takes a look at the real big winners in this project, it will soon be realized that multinational corporations mostly from Europe, North America and to some extent Asia which have set up base in Cairo, Johannesburg and Nairobi will be real winners.
The Tripartite Free Trade Area (FTA) by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will be launched in mid-December, 2014.
Three of Africa’s regional economic communities have agreed to launch the long-awaited Tripartite Free Trade Area at a joint summit of leaders from the regional groups scheduled for December in Egypt, APA learnt here Monday.
Negotiations to set up a grand free trade zone encompassing 26 countries in eastern and southern Africa are progressing well and may be completed in 2015, a year before schedule, SADC officials reveal.
African high-level officials indicated recently that negotiations for the establishment of a free-trade area spanning three major regional economic communities in Africa have progressed well and could conclude by the end of this year.
African countries need to look at the possibility of fast-tracking the tripartite Free Trade Area if hopes of an improved intra-African trade are to be met anytime soon, according to the African Union Commission
Twenty-six eastern and southern African nations are making progress toward agreeing on a free trade area that will create a market with nearly 600 million people and combined gross domestic product of $1 trillion, South African President Jacob Zuma said.
Three regional economic communities in Africa — COMESA, EAC and SADC — are expected to sign an agreement this year to establish an enlarged market covering 26 countries in eastern and southern Africa.
Negotiations between three trade blocs in Africa to create a free trade area were running behind schedule in terms of reaching their 2014 deadline but were nevertheless progressing, South Africa Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said last week.
The Government of Zambia has called on the three African regional economic communities (RECs) — the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) — to speed up their free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations.