Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
Marché commun de l'Afrique orientale et australe
Mercado Comum da África Oriental e Austral
Anthem: People of Africa[1]
Map of membership in the COMESA   Current members   Former members
Map of membership in the COMESA
  Current members
  Former members
Seat of Secretariat Lusaka, Zambia
Official languages English, French and Portuguese
Type Trade bloc
Membership 20 member states
 -  Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya
 -  Signed 5 November 1993 
 -  Ratified 8 December 1994 

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, is a free trade area with nineteen member states stretching from Libya to Zimbabwe. COMESA formed in December 1994, replacing a Preferential Trade Area which had existed since 1981. Nine of the member states formed a free trade area in 2000 (Djibouti, Egypt, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe), with Rwanda and Burundi joining the FTA in 2004 and the Comoros and Libya in 2006.

COMESA is one of the pillars of the African Economic Community.

In 2008, COMESA agreed to an expanded free-trade zone including members of two other African trade blocs, the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).



Current members:

Former members:

Organs of the Common Market

The following organs have decision-making power according to the treaties

  • The COMESA Authority, composes of Heads of States or Government.
  • The COMESA Council of Ministers
  • The COMESA Court of Justice
  • The Committee of Governors of Central Banks

The following lower policy organs make recommendations to the above:

  • The Inter-governmental Committee
  • The Twelve Technical Committees
  • The Consultative Committee of the Business Community and other Interest Groups
  • The COMESA Secretariat.

Other institutions created to promote development are:

Comparison with other regional blocs

African Economic Community
blocs (REC)
Area (km²) Population GDP (PPP) ($US) Member
in millions per capita
AEC 29,910,442 853,520,010 2,053,706 2,406 54
ECOWAS 5,112,903 251,646,263 342,519 1,361 15
ECCAS 6,667,421 121,245,958 175,928 1,451 11
SADC 9,882,959 233,944,179 737,335 3,152 15
EAC 1,817,945 124,858,568 104,239 1,065 5
COMESA 12,873,957 406,102,471 735,599 1,811 20
IGAD 5,233,604 187,969,775 225,049 1,197 7
Area (km²) Population GDP (PPP) ($US) Member
in millions per capita
CEMAC 2 3,020,142 34,970,529 85,136 2,435 6
SACU 2 2,693,418 51,055,878 541,433 10,605 5
UEMOA 2 3,505,375 80,865,222 101,640 1,257 8
UMA 3 5,782,140 84,185,073 491,276 5,836 5
GAFTA 4 5,876,960 166,259,603 635,450 3,822 5
1 The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) is a signatory to the AEC, but not participating in any bloc yet

2 Economic bloc inside a pillar REC
3 Proposed for pillar REC, but objecting participation
4 Non-African members of GAFTA are excluded from figures

  smallest value among the blocs compared
  largest value among the blocs compared

During 2004. Source: CIA World Factbook 2005, IMF WEO Database

This box: view · edit] See also
African Union

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