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The Benefits of Africa’s Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) 

The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) is a free trade agreement between three African Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). This agreement creates a free trade area between 29 African countries, covering about 60% of the continent’s population and combining their total gross domestic product (GDP). This is will bring together about 626 million customers (approximately 8 percent of the world’s population). 

From Monday, January 23rd to Tuesday, January 24th 2023, trade experts from seventeen countries under the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Agreement met in Nairobi, Kenya for the Tripartite Trade Negotiation Forum (TTNF). The experts reviewed progress made on various key issues needed to make the TFTA operational and unlock enhanced trade and investment opportunities. This is intended to benefit the 29 COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Member States. COMESA NEWS 

Policymakers ensured that the primary purpose of the agreement is to boost economic growth in the region and create a more competitive regional market. It aims to eliminate many of the trade barriers between these countries, such as tariffs, quotas and other restrictions on trade. This means that African countries will be able to take advantage of tariff-free trade, while businesses will be able to benefit from a wider variety of products. This could ultimately lead to more low-cost, high-quality products as well as improved living standards. 

The TFTA is expected to create jobs, increase income, and reduce poverty in the region. Increased trade and reduced trade barriers will lead to a larger flow of foreign direct investments into African countries. This can lead to the creation of new businesses and the expansion of existing ones, resulting in increased job opportunities and greater income for individuals. 

The TFTA also provides a unique opportunity for investment in technology and infrastructure development. By increasing competition between African countries, it may be possible to create an environment where smaller firms can access finance and resources more easily, thus making it easier for them to invest in innovation and technology. Furthermore, improved infrastructure will facilitate the smooth transportation of goods and services across African borders. This could ultimately lead to better economic growth and higher standards of living. 

Moreover, the TFTA will strengthen Africa’s relationship with other countries, creating an open and fair market for African exports. This could make the African market more attractive, resulting in increased foreign investments and access to global markets. This could result in more foreign currency entering the region, helping to strengthen and diversify African economies. 

As we prepare for the African Union (AU) Summit in happening in February 2023 at the AU Headquarters (HQ) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, let us keep in mind that the TFTA has the prospect of bringing numerous benefits to African countries. It can create jobs, increase income, reduce poverty, and encourage foreign direct investments. We as African Renaissance see the massive potential because it could improve infrastructure and technology and make African exports more attractive to foreign investors.  

We call upon the policymakers to remind our leaders as we meet at the AU HQ that we need to implement the TFTA. The TFTA will create an open and fair market that could significantly strengthen African economies.