TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Regional Info: COMESA

Economic Background

The history of COMESA began in December 1994 when it was formed to replace the former Preferential Trade Area (PTA) which had existed from the earlier days of 1981. COMESA (as defined by its Treaty) was established 'as an organisation of free independent sovereign states which have agreed to co-operate in developing their natural and human resources for the good of all their people' and as such it has a wide-ranging series of objectives which necessarily include in its priorities the promotion of peace and security in the region.

However, due to COMESA's economic history and background its main focus is on the formation of a large economic and trading unit that is capable of overcoming some of the barriers that are faced by individual states..

COMESA's current strategy can thus be summed up in the phrase 'economic prosperity through regional integration'. With its 19 member states, population of over 389 million and annual import bill of around US$32 billion with an export bill of US$82 billion COMESA forms a major market place for both internal and external trading. Its area is impressive on the map of the African Continent covering a geographical area of 12 Million (sq km). (Source: COMESA Secretariat). 

Not all COMESA member states are also AGOA beneficiaries. Notable exclusions are Zimbabwe and the DRC (the latter was suspended, the former was never included), while some countries from North Africa (Egypt, Libya) are excluded from the provisions of the legislation as they are outside of the Sub-Saharan Africa area. The trade stats provided here therefore only relate to AGOA beneficiaries. 

Downloads

COMESA - US (TIFA)

COMESA - US (TIFA)

Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Common Market For Eastern And Southern Africa (COMESA) concerning the development of trade and investment relations. 

Author COMESA - US
Organisation COMESA - US
Publish Date 29 October 2001
View details D Size: 41 KB

Related News

Zambia: ‘Regional integration vital for growth’

Zambia: ‘Regional integration vital for growth’

Zambia will continue strengthening its participation in regional economic integration and trade investment platforms because the agenda will promote the country’s industrialisation efforts, a senior Government official has said. Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry permanent secretary Kayula Siame also said there is need for continued private sector sensitisation on...

14 October, 2016
COMESA states lack strong industries to spur regional trade - Siame

COMESA states lack strong industries to spur regional trade - Siame

Zambia commerce permanent secretary Kayula Siame says intra-COMESA trade continues to face challenges despite the available instruments designed to improve integration. And COMESA assistant secretary general Dr Kipyego Cheluget says Zambia is among countries that have not exploited the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Speaking during the official opening of the...

31 August, 2016
COMESA: AGOA-US exports swell to $17 billion

COMESA: AGOA-US exports swell to $17 billion

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) exports to America under the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) has amounted to US$17 billion. The exports through the COMESA eligible countries amounted to $17.3 billion by November 2015. COMESA secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya said the United States-COMESA Trade and Investments Framework Agreement (TIFA) provides...

08 February, 2016
US urges Zambia to diversify

US urges Zambia to diversify

The US government says the recent slump in copper prices serves as a timely reminder for Zambia to diversify its economy. US Ambassador to Zambia Eric Shultz says serious efforts must be taken to shift the economy to agriculture, tourism and power generation. Speaking when he officiated at the eighth US-COMESA consultative trade meeting, Ambassador Shultz also urged member...

08 February, 2016
COMESA reportedly unhappy with poor trade with US

COMESA reportedly unhappy with poor trade with US

Africa’s main regional trade bloc, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), on Tuesday expressed concerns over its low share of trade with the United States despite the two sides having signed economic development agreements. The COMESA said it was unfortunate that both of its export and import with the U.S. remain low. The value of trade between the...

24 February, 2015
Zambia: Government, COMESA act to boost AGOA exports

Zambia: Government, COMESA act to boost AGOA exports

The Government in collaboration with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has put in place a committee which will look at ways and means of increasing exports to the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) market in the United States of America(USA). Commerce Trade and Industry Minister Bob Sichinga said there were a number of issues that needed to be...

21 May, 2014