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COMESA Reduces Admin Costs

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has made major strides in simplifying administrative processes under its Free Trade Area agreement to deepen intra-regional trade which stood at US$90bn as of 2020. This is a reduction from the 2019 figure of $123.4bn due to COVID. COMESA Secretary General, Ms Chileshe Kapwepwe, said the Secretariat has implemented various policies and instruments including the Simplified Trade Regime (STR), trade facilitation and human mobility border specific action plans to increase formal small-scale cross border trade and ensure increased income for small scale traders, most of whom are women. Also earmarked for 2023 is the construction of border markets supported by the European Union (EU) at selected borders in target Member States to provide convenient trading spaces for small scale cross border traders.

Meanwhile the East African Community (EAC) has started to implement its harmonised framework which is aimed at facilitating cross border trade of pre-packaged foods and cosmetic products. The framework promotes the use of one standard, one certification quality mark, and one conformity assessment procedure in the registration, approval, and certification.

These are examples of the key role that the RECs will play within the AfCFTA (see above).

Alastair Tempest

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