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The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Trade in Services

This has entered into force. Ecommerce online sales of services within the SADC region should therefore become easier. The first round of sectoral negotiations was concluded in 2019 covering communication, financial, tourism, transport, construction, and energy-related services. The second round of negotiations was approved by SADC Trade Ministers in 2021, covering regional trade in the remaining sectors – business services; distribution; educational, health, and social services; environmental services; and recreational, cultural, and sporting services. The adopted first-round Lists of Commitments/Schedules comprise commitments in the 6 priority sectors by all Member States except for outstanding schedules by Mozambique (energy-related services), and Madagascar (construction and energy-related services). Angola and Comoros have yet to become party to the Protocol. This agreement will assist in the negotiations at the AfCFTA.

Meanwhile, SADC together with its tripartite partners in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC), is working to have legally binding standards applied by all Member and the Partner States to ensure minimum disruption of the movement of goods and people. Under the COMESA-SADC-EAC tripartite arrangement, harmonised guidelines to facilitate transportation and trade of goods and services in the region have been developed to ensure that there is smooth movement of goods and people from one region to the other through a uniform set of laws that are hassle-free for transporters and travelers, which will result in greater benefits to the people of the region.

The COMESA, EAC, and SADC Member and the Partner States combined represent 53% of the African Union membership, with over US$1.4tn GDP, which is 60% of the African continental’s GDP and an estimated population of 800m, making the tripartite region an important building block for the implementation of the AfCFTA.

Also, see the article on Digitalising Trade Data below.


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