Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa








Contacts Website
Members Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Main transport corridors Northern Corridor (website), Central CorridorNorth-South Corridor
Key private sector organisations COMESA Business Council

The Community

The roots of COMESA go back to the 1960s, with a Preferential Trade Area (PTA) formed in 1981. The vision of the PTA was that it would be transformed into to a common market, which happened in 1994 which the Treaty establishing COMESA was signed.

COMESA decided to expand the free-trade zone in 2008 to also include the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) through the Tripartite Free Trade Area.

Apart from the free trade area and customs union, COMESAs objectives also involve trade promotion. For example, trade liberalisation and customs cooperation, introducing a unified computerised customs network across the region, improving administration of transport and communication to facilitate for the movement of goods, services and people, to create an enabling environment and legal framework to boost the growth of the private sector, establish a secure environment for investments, adopting a common set of standards and the harmonisation of macroeconomic and monetary policies.

Trade-related items

To achieve an economic community in COMESA, they have chosen to focus on development integration including trade development and investment promotion and coordination. The four focus areas of the development integration agenda are trade-, investment-, infrastructure and science and technology development.

The three programme priorities with respect to trade development is the formation of a Free Trade Area by October 31, 2000, the formation of a customs union with a common external tariff by 2004 and the formation of a monetary union by 2025 with a single currency and common Central Bank.

“The Mechanism for Reporting, Monitoring and Eliminating Non-Tariff Barriers.”

Main Technical Assistance Partners