Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from COMESA)
Jump to: navigation, search
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)
  • Marché commun de l'Afrique
    orientale et australe
  • Mercado Comum da África
    Oriental e Austral
Anthem: People of Africa [1]
Map of Africa indicating COMESA membership.   Current members   Former members
Map of Africa indicating COMESA membership.
  Current members
  Former members
Secretariat Zambia Lusaka, Zambia
Official languages
Type Trade bloc
Membership 20 member states
 -  Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya
Establishment Agreement
 -  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 Swaziland. COMESA was 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, the Comoros and Libya in 2006, and Seychelles in 2009.

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). Comesa is also considering a common visa scheme to boost tourism.[2]



Horn of Africa
North Africa
  •  Egypt (6 Jan 1999)
  •  Libya (3 June 2005, at the 10th COMESA summit)
  •  Sudan (21 Dec 1981)
Indian Ocean
African Great Lakes
Southern Africa
Central Africa



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

  • The COMESA Authority, composes of Heads of States or Government and is COMESA’s supreme policy-making organ. The Authority is headed by a Chairman elected for an agreed period; the current chairperson is His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Rebublic of Uganda. The Authority is tasked with the general policy direction and controlling the overall performance of the executive functions of COMESA. The COMESA Authority meets once a year at Summits which are held in different member States. The hosting government and the COMESA Secretariat bear joint responsibility for their organization. Whilst the hosting country assumes the chairmanship of the Authority for the year, an Extraordinary Summit can be held at the request of any member of the Authority; so long as one-third of the members of the Authority support such a request.[5] The Authority meetings are held in closed sessions and usually decisions are taken by consensus. The session leaders have to issue a communiqué, recording any decisions made. These directives and decisions taken by the Authority are binding on all member States and the other organs to which they are addressed.

The following lower policy organs make recommendations to the above:

Other institutions created to promote development are:

Comparison with other regional blocs[edit]

African Economic Community
blocs (REC)
Area (km²) Population GDP (PPP) ($US) Member
in millions per capita
AEC 29,910,442 853,520,010 2,053,706 2,406 54
ECOWAS 5,112,903 300,000,000 703,279 1,748 15
ECCAS 6,667,421 121,245,958 175,928 1,451 11
SADC 9,882,959 233,944,179 737,335 3,152 15
EAC 1,817,945 124,858,568 104,239 1,065 5
COMESA 12,873,957 406,102,471 735,599 1,811 20
IGAD 5,233,604 187,969,775 225,049 1,197 7
Area (km²) Population GDP (PPP) ($US) Member
in millions per capita
CEMAC 2 3,020,142 34,970,529 85,136 2,435 6
SACU 2,693,418 51,055,878 541,433 10,605 5
UEMOA 1 3,505,375 80,865,222 101,640 1,257 8
UMA 2 5,782,140 84,185,073 491,276 5,836 5
GAFTA 3 5,876,960 166,259,603 635,450 3,822 5
1 Economic bloc inside a pillar REC

2 Proposed for pillar REC, but objecting participation
3 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

See also[edit]

Map of the African Union with Suspended States.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the African Union


  1. ^ "Comesaweb – Comesa anthem". Retrieved 2 September 2011. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "SADC, COMESA and the EAC: Conflicting regional and trade agendas". Institute for Global Dialogue. October 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "African integration is great but has its hurdles". New Vision. 26 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  5. ^ "About COMESA". The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Retrieved 10 December 2011. 

External links[edit]