Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)

Marché commun de l'Afrique de l'Est et de l'Afrique australe
Mercado Común para Africa Orientale e Austral

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Established on ratification of the 'Treaty establishing the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)' by the requisite number of states, the Treaty having been signed, 5 Nov 1993, Kampala (Uganda), by Heads of State and Government and plenipotentiaries of 15 countries. COMESA is the successor to H-XF6602 - Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern African States (PTA), which had been established, 22 Dec 1981, Lusaka (Zambia), and was dissolved by the COMESA Treaty. An ultimate objective is the setting up of an F-XF2245 - African Economic Community (AEC) through implementation of provisions of T-XT9114 - Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community (Abuja treaty). Together with other regional economic groups in Africa, COMESA and AEC negotiated and concluded, 25 Feb 1998, a Protocol on relations between AEC and the regional economic communities; and would convert into an organic entity of AEC at the time the Continental Common Market is established through consolidation of regional common markets. The 2 member countries of D-XD4612 - Southern African Customs Union (SACU) which are members of PTA and which have signed the COMESA Treaty - Namibia and Swaziland - are exempt from full membership obligations pending the completion of the renegotiation process of SACU Agreement.


As defined in the COMESA Treaty and its Protocols: (a) attain sustainable growth and development of member states by promoting a more balanced and harmonious development of production and marketing structures; promote joint development in all fields of economic activity and the joint adoption of macro-economic policies and programmes in order to raise the standard of living of the peoples in, and to foster closer relations among, member states; cooperate in the creation of an enabling environment for foreign, cross-border and domestic investment, including joint promotion of research and adaptation of science and technology for development; cooperate in the promotion of peace, security and stability among member states in order to enhance the economic development of the region; cooperate in strengthening the relations between the Common Market and the rest of the world and adopt common positions in international fora; contribute towards the establishment, progress and the realization of the objectives of the African Economic Community.


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Main organs:

  • COMESA Authority - Heads of State and Government: supreme policy organ, consisting of all Heads of State and Government; decisions by consensus;
  • Council of Ministers: decisions by consensus, or - failing that - by two thirds majority.

Supporting organizations: COMESA Committee of Central Bank Governors; Intergovernmental Committee; Technical Committees. Overal coordination through Secretariat, based in Lusaka (Zambia). Secretariat, consisting of Divisions, Units and Projects. Secretariat Divisions (4): Infrastructure Development; Industry and Agriculture; Trade and Customs; Gender and Social Affairs.

COMESA Institutions:

Specialized agency: E-XJ2975 - Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA).


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