The Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) was established by a treaty signed on 5 November 1993 in Kampala, Uganda. The agreement was ratified a year later in Lilongwe, Malawi on 8 December 1994. The COMESA treaty builds on an earlier preferential trade agreement and is aimed at creating a common market in Eastern and Southern Africa.

As a trade bloc, COMESA has 19 member countries: Angola, Burundi, Comoros, D.R. Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In October 2008, the member states of COMESA, the East African Community (EAC, with five members) and the Southern Africa Development Cooperation (SADC, with 14 members) agreed to merge as one giant 26-member free trade area. (There is some overlap in membership among the current blocs.) This will take some time, as the three have different levels of economic integration.

last update: May 2012


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  • 2-Jan-2016 Kenyan Sugar Gets Extra 1 Year Comesa Safeguard
    Kenya has been granted a one-year extension of sugar import limits from the regional trade bloc Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to revamp its ailing sugar industry.
  • 2-Jan-2016 COMESA tackles maize trade
    The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has launched a roadmap that will address differences in standards and regulations that hinder regional trade in maize.
  • 4-Sep-2015 COMESA prepares for regional trade facilitation
    The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has conducted training workshops for stakeholders in transit trade in preparation for the implementation of regional trade facilitation instruments.
  • 4-Sep-2015 COMESA courts Australia on mineral policy
    The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is working with the government of Western Australia to develop a harmonised regional mineral policy focusing on the legal and regulatory framework.
  • 22-May-2015 Ethiopia signs 1.1 mln. Euro agreement with Comesa
    Ethiopia signed Friday a grant agreement of 1.1 million Euros with COMESA to finance its regional integration programmes.
  • 22-May-2015 COMESA economic investment forum in Egypt next October
    “We are studying establishing a unit at GAFI to provide economic and investment information to African countries,” says investment minister
  • 11-May-2015 COMESA, ZRA launch virtual trade facilitation system
    Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) have launched the COMESA virtual trade facilitation system (CVTFS) aimed at tracking the movement of cargo to curb illicit trade.
  • 26-May-2014 Govt, COMESA act to boost AGOA exports
    The Zambian 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 market in the United States of America.
  • 25-Apr-2014 Gloom as Kenya fails to meet Comesa rule
    Kenyan sugarcane farmers and consumers face a bleak future, as Government departments tasked with implementing reforms in the sector drag their feet.
  • 25-Apr-2014 ‘COMESA should settle tariff issues on sugar’
    Zambia Sugar Plc has expressed concern at the non-application of tariffs on sugar imported outside the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) as it is displacing regional producers.
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