Policy & Advocacy TRIPARTITE FREE TRADE AREA-Tripartite Private Sector Platform

TRIPARTITE FREE TRADE AREA-Tripartite Private Sector Platform

On the 12th June, 2011, the Heads of State and Government of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) met and signed a declaration launching negotiations for the establishment of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Free Trade Area (FTA), commonly known as the Tripartite FTA.

Services matter for economic growth and development. In most non-oil-producing sub-Saharan African countries, the services sector now makes up the largest part of the economy and, as countries develop, the importance of the services sector tends to rise further. Services represent the fastest growing sector of the global economy accounting for about 70% of global GDP, one third of global employment and approximately 20% of global trade measured in gross terms, but 42% of global trade measured in value added terms. The performance of the services sector in developing countries during the past decade has had positive impact on national competitiveness, income growth, employment and poverty reduction in both urban and rural areas.

The Common Market for COMESA-EAC-SADC comprises 26 countries with a combined population of almost 600 million people, a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$ 624 billion, and a GDP per capita averaging US$1,184. The main objective of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite is strengthening and deepening economic integration of the southern and eastern Africa region. This will be achieved through harmonization of policies and programmes across the three Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in the areas of trade, customs and infrastructure development.

A Roadmap has been developed, and technical negotiations are currently underway in these key pillars: market integration, infrastructure development and industrial development.

To access the protocols or if you need more information on the TFTA visit;

Tripartite Private Sector Platform
The Tripartite Private Sector platform was established in 2010, and is composed of the technical committees of the respective Business Councils: COMESA Business Council, East African Business Council and SADC Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The main objective of the platform is to promote Private sector engagement on the regional integration agenda within the Tripartite Framework and to effectively influence policies affecting private sector interests within the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA). The platform received a Grant from the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) under the Tripartite Capacity Building Programme (TCBP) to support technical capacity of the Tripartite Regional Economic Communities (REC) Business Councils on policy issues, to harmonize police positions and effectively input into TFTA negotiations.

A work plan covering activities relating to the following has been developed, and will be implemented up to 2015. Key activities include the following studies;

Assessment and harmonisation of the private sector position on; Rules of Origin, Movement of Business Persons, Trade Remedies and Dispute Settlement, Non-Tariff Barriers, Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary( SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade(TBT) at a regional and tripartite level, and, the Establishment of the Tripartite Private Sector Platform Website.

Some key proposals by the private sector in the TFTA include;

  • A framework to support the Movement of Business Persons in the TFTA region
  • Trade development and promotion

For more information on the Tripartite private sector platform and private sector information on TFTA – Contact us.-----

Or visit Tripartite Private Sector Website (under construction)


COMESA Business Council is a Business Member Organization and recognized private sector institution of the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

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