Botswana to sign Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement

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Botswana to sign Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement

Botswana to sign Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement
Photo credit: Axel Lauer

Signing of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) Agreement to take place on 30 January 2018

The Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry of Botswana, Honourable Vincent T. Seretse will be signing the Agreement establishing the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa - East African Community - Southern African Development Community (COMESA-EAC-SADC) Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) on the 30th January 2018 at Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry in Gaborone at 0830 hours.

The Tripartite Free Trade Area comprise of 26 countries from the three (3) Regional Economic Communities of COMESA, the EAC and SADC. The Tripartite Free Trade Area consists of a combined population of nearly 625 million people and a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of approximately US$1.3 trillion, accounting for almost half the membership of the African Union and 60 percent of the Continent Gross Domestic Product.

The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) aims to boost intra-African trade through the creation of a wider market, increased investment flows, enhanced competitiveness and development of cross-regional infrastructure. The TFTA serves as a building block for the completion of the Continental Free Trade Area. The signing of the TFTA Agreement will enable Botswana to access the market from the Tripartite Area which is 57% of Africa’s population.

Find out more about the TFTA and download the text of the Agreement here.

Background

COMESA, the EAC and SADC agreed to negotiate a Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) amongst themselves at the First Tripartite Summit in October 2008 in Kampala. Negotiations were launched by the Heads of State and Government on 12 June 2011, and on 10 June 2015 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, the COMESA-EAC-SADC TFTA was officially launched.

Twenty four of the 26 member states have signed the Declaration Launching the TFTA and 21 member countries have signed the TFTA Agreement. These countries are Angola, Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Egypt, Kenya, State of Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Agreement requires 14 ratifications to enter into force. So far, only Egypt and Uganda have both signed and ratified the Agreement.