Kigali, Friday, July 12, 2019: Rwanda has become the fifth country to ratify the tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement (TFTA). Members of the Lower House of the Rwanda Parliament approved the draft law for the ratification of the agreement on Wednesday, July 10, 2019.
The TFTA was launched on 15 June 2015 in Egypt by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The Times of Rwanda quoted the Minister for Trade and Industry, Soraya Hakuziyaremye, telling the lawmakers that though the TFTA the free trade area will bolster intra-regional trade by creating a wider market, increasing investment flow, enhancing competitiveness and developing cross-regional infrastructure.
“This agreement rose from the need to establish an integrated market of 27 countries with a combined population of nearly 600 million people and a GDP of approximately US$1 trillion,” she said.
The Tripartite Council of ministers of the three regional economic blocs had given member states up to April 2019 this year to sign and ratify the tripartite free trade.
were informed that eight of the 19 countries that had ratified the Africa Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) were Tripartite Member/ Partner States.
Speaking at the April meeting, Zambia’s Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Hon. Christopher Yaluma said it was time for the remaining countries to sign the tripartite given that is was supposed to the building bloc to the continental FTA.
“I cannot overemphasize the absolute importance of all of us ratifying the Tripartite Agreement so that it enters into force immediately. After years of negotiation, the Tripartite FTA is ready for implementation. It is very much a low hanging fruit,” Hon Yaluma had said.
The continental free trade area has already attained the requisite ratifications and was launched last week in Niger.
Over 90% of the work on Rules of Origin for the Tripartite has been completed, providing the basis for trade to begin. In addition, the legal texts have been concluded and adopted. Most of the member/partners states of the tripartite are already using the existing COMESA or SADC free trade area agreements.