An integral component of the COMESA success narrative has been its
institutions. These are needs-based and respond to very specific niches in
the region. In addition to providing expertise in specific areas, the institutions
are involved in skills development and extensive market research that allows
them to link evidence to their decision-making processes. To support the
integration program, COMESA has established financial institutions to provide
not just the much needed credit (the Trade and Development Bank), but also
to provide insurance for non-commercial risks (the African Trade Insurance
Agency), re-insurance (ZEP-Re (PTA) Reinsurance Company) and to facilitate
international payments (the Regional Payment and Settlement System), and
to underpin competition in the region (the COMESA Competition Commission).
What COMESA Offers
COMESA offers its members and partners a wide range of benefits which include:
1. A wider, harmonised and more competitive market
2. Greater industrial productivity and competitiveness
3. Increased agricultural production and food security
4. A more rational exploitation of natural resources
5. More harmonised monetary, banking and financial policies
6. More reliable transport and communications infrastructure
COMESA Priority Areas
A Free Trade Area
The FTA was achieved on 31st October, 2000 when nine of the member States namely Djibouti, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe eliminated their tariffs on COMESA originating products, in accordance with the tariff reduction schedule adopted in 1992.This followed a trade liberalisation programme that commenced in 1984 on reduction and eventual elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers to intra- regional trade. Burundi and Rwanda joined the FTA on 1st January 2004. These eleven FTA members have not only eliminated customs tariffs but are working on the eventual elimination of quantitative restrictions and other non-tariff barriers.
A Customs Union maybe defined as a merger of two or more customs territories into a single customs territory, in which customs duties and other measures that restrict trade are eliminated for substantially all trade between the merged territories. The territories, in turn apply the same duties and measures in their trade with third parties. In preparation for a Customs Union the Eleventh Meeting of the Council of Ministers held in Cairo, Egypt adopted a Road Map that outlined programmes and activities whose implementation was necessary before the launching of the Union. It is expected that the launch will be achieved by the year 2008
Other objectives which will be met to assist in the achievement of trade promotion include:
1. Trade liberalisation and Customs
co-operation, including the introduction of a unified computerised Customs
network across the region.
2. Improving the administration of
transport and communications to ease
the movement of goods services and
people between the countries.
3. Creating an enabling environment and
legal framework which will encourage the
growth of the private sector, the
establishment of a secure investment
environment, and the adoption of
common sets of standards.
4. The harmonisation of macro-economic
and monetary policies throughout the