Africa’s longstanding vision is an integrated, prosperous and united continent. This vision will come closer to reality in December when the largest integrated market covering 26 countries in eastern and southern Africa is established.
Commonly known as the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), the integrated market will comprise the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The establishment of a single and enlarged market is expected to boost intra-regional trade and deepen regional integration through improved investment flows and enhanced competition.
In fact, this integrated arrangement will create a combined population of some 625 million people covering half of the member states of the African Union (AU) and a Gross Domestic Product of about US$1.2 trillion.
According to a statement released by COMESA, which is spearheading the implementation process as chair of the Tripartite Taskforce, the proposed Grand FTA will be launched in December during a Tripartite Summit to be held in Egypt.
This follows a series of intense consultations and negotiations that have been going on since 2008 when the three regional economic communities made a commitment to jointly work together in regional integration during their historic summit held in Kampala, Uganda.
The commitment shown by the three economic communities has now proved fruitful as the Grand FTA is within sight and becoming a reality. Source: sardc.net