The Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has received funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB) towards funding of the Tripartite Capacity Building Programme (TCBP), phase II.
The objective of the programme is to support the Tripartite Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and their Regional Member Countries (RMCs) to operationalize the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), a major milestone for Africa integration. The TFTA consolidates the markets of three RECs, namely COMESA, EAC (East African Community) and SADC (Southern Africa development Community) to address the challenge of fragmented markets and proliferation of non-tariff barriers, which inhibit cross border trade. Together, these three (3) RECs cover a USD 1.3 trillion market representing 56% of Africa’s GDP and approximately 740 million consumers in 29 Countries. The key outputs from the Bank’s intervention will be the development of guidelines, procedures, regulations and manuals required to operationalize the Agreement in areas such as rules of origin and dispute settlement. The Programme will also support the establishment of online databases for non-tariff measures in Tripartite RMCs, building on the pilots under Phase I. This will improve transparency in trade, speed up the resolution of non-tariff barriers (NTBs), deter arbitrary application of regulatory measures that hinder trade, and improve awareness of traders about legitimate regulatory requirements, which provides a foundation for them to improve their capacity for compliance. The programme will enhance awareness of traders and the business community on the market access opportunities now availed by the Agreement, with a view to effectively harnessing such opportunities.
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