The Tripartite Free Trade Area and the African Continental Free Trade Area:|b the Case for Consolidation
Author(s)/Corporate Author (s)Luke, David;
United Nations. Economic Commission for Africa;
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The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) agreement, bringing together twenty-six member and partner states of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) was signed by the third tripartite summit in the resort town of Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Five days after the TFTA signing, the African Union (AU) summit of heads of state and government launched negotiations for the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), subsequently renamed African Continental Free Trade Area, (AfCFTA). These negotiations were to encompass 54 African Union member states. Both of these initiatives were aimed at rationalizing multiple memberships of African countries in regional economic communities, for integration purposes as well as for consolidating market potential. In the case of TFTA, this was to be achieved by creating a free trade area bringing COMESA, EAC and SADC together in a market with a population of 632 million people and a combined GDP of $1.3 trillion; in the case of AfCFTA, by creating a continent-wide market of 1.2 billion people and a continental GDP of $2.3 trillion. This policy brief reviews the salient provisions in the TFTA and AfCFTA agreements. It will become clear that a number of elements are duplicated in the two agreements. We argue that a road map for effective transition of all FTAs on the continent into AfCFTA is urgently required. This policy brief is divided into three sections. The first briefly revisits the decision of the African Union assembly to consolidate FTAs into AfCFTA. The second highlights a number of similarities in the legal structure of the TFTA and the AfCFTA agreements. The third concludes with the argument on the need for consolidation.
Citation“Luke, David; Mabuza, Zodwa; United Nations. Economic Commission for Africa (2018-11). The Tripartite Free Trade Area and the African Continental Free Trade Area:|b the Case for Consolidation. Addis Ababa. © UN.ECA. ”
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