Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)

CONTACT DETAILS

COMESA Centre, Ben Bella Road, PO Box 30051, Lusaka, Zambia Tel +260-1-22 9726/9
Fax +260-1-22 5107
E-mail secgen@comesa.int
Telex: ZA 401

HISTORY AND PRESENT STATUS

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa was founded in 1993 as a successor to the Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern Africa (PTA), which was established in 1981. COMESA formally succeeded the PTA on 8 December 1994. The establishment of COMESA was a fulfilment of the requirements of the PTA Treaty, which provided for the transformation of the PTA into a common market ten years after the entry into force of the PTA Treaty. COMESA is the largest regional economic community in Africa.

South Africa is not a member of COMESA, having opted for membership of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

In October 2000, the COMESA Free Trade Area (FTA), the first of its kind in Africa, was launched. Nine member states, including Djibouti, Egypt, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe, were in the first wave of the 20-country body to join the FTA.

COMESA has been designated a pillar of the African Economic Community . The other pillars are the Southern African Development Community (SADC) , Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS/CEEAC), and the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU/UMA) .

OTHER DEPARTMENTS AND COOPERATING ORGANISATIONS

Department of Trade and Industry

RELEVANT TREATIES/PROTOCOLS ETC

COMESA Treaty
Treaty establishing the African Economic Community
Protocol on Relations between the African Economic Community and Regional Economic Communities

GENERAL COMMENTS

South Africa took part in a seminar on Egypt-COMESA co-operation in Cairo at the end of October 1998, but is not actively involved in COMESA activities since it is not a member of the organisation.

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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa