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Failure – so far – Bringing the Regional Economic Communities from Southern and Eastern Africa Closer Together

The East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the Southern African Development Cooperation (SADC) Tripartite Free Trade Area agreement (TFTA) has not been put into force despite member countries signing it 7 years ago. According to reports, the delay in ratification is due to a slow response from member countries that have not yet signed the ratification treaty. The TFTA agreement has a total of 29 member countries representing 53% of the African Union membership and more than 60% of the Africa Continent GDP ($1.88 Tn) with a population of over 800 million people. In 2015, 22 of the 29 member countries accepted the treaty but only 11 have ratified it. The 11 member countries that have ratified are Egypt, Eswatini, SA, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. This treaty is one of the key building blocks of the African Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the failure of it to get off the ground is concerning for the future of the continental trade agreement.


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