African leaders have agreed to create the continent’s largest free-trade zone, covering 26 countries in an area from Cape Town to Cairo and Libya. The deal is intended to ease the movement of goods across member countries.
There are 8 Regional Economic Communities formally recognized by The Africa Union: the common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), and the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA).
The much talked about Tripartite Free Trade Area, will wrap together 26 African nations with a population north of 600 million. It covers a huge part of Southern and Eastern Africa This free trade area is bigger, by population, than either the European Union or NAFTA.
Tripartite Free Trade Area covers the whole of 3 regional Economic Communities, the common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The agreement has been signed off on June 10 in Egypt. This is the first step as each country’s parliament are to approve the pact before trade zones are opened. The pact will then be officially unveiled at the upcoming summit of the African Union this weekend in South Africa.