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Khartoum, Wednesday, June, 25, 2018: The COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Task Force in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade in Sudan, hosted a two-day national sensitization workshop on the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) in Khartoum, June 24 -25, 2018. The event brought together key stakeholders from the national technical committee and COMESA Secretariat who deliberated on the TFTA framework.

This workshop followed the decision by the 13th Tripartite Committee Meeting of Senior Officials in February 2018, which stressed the importance of national awareness creation workshops to facilitate ratification and implementation of the Tripartite Free Trade Agreement.

The Government of Sudan has since resolved to initiate the process of ratification of the TFTA ahead of the deadline set for April 2019.

Presentations made at the workshop covered the status of the TFTA negotiations and Tripartite programmes, TFTA Rules of Origin, movement of business persons, industrial capacity development and infrastructure. Presentation by private sector representatives focused on market opportunities for Sudan under the TFTA and the challenges faced by the business community.

The meeting expressed support for the TFTA programmes and urged the government to fast track the process of ratifying the TFTA as this would provide great investment and market opportunities for the country.

The workshop was attended by senior government officials dignitaries led by the Under Secretary in the Ministry of Trade Mr Nadir Elrayah Awad and Honourable Mohamed Tahii Osham Deputy Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Industry, Investment and Land. Others were officials from relevant line ministries, representatives from the Central Bank, the business community, employer’s federation and the private sector also participated in the gathering.

Hon. Osham pledged to organize an awareness creation workshop for legislators to help marshal support towards ratification of the Agreement.

The TFTA brings together a population of 700 million people with an estimated Gross Domestic Product of over US$1.4 trillion. It was launched in June 2015 in Egypt.

So far, the following countries have signed the TFTA: Burundi, Comoros, DR Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

Only Kenya, Egypt and Uganda have signed and ratified the TFTA.