The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) is a proposed African free trade agreement between the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and East African Community (EAC).
On June 10, 2015 the TFTA agreement was signed in Egypt by the countries included in the TFTA. The TFTA would be officially formed once ratified by the national parliaments of all member states. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by His Majesty King Mswati III, H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, and H.E. Hifikepunye Pohamba for COMESA, EAC, and SADC respectively.
The lack of an integrated and liberalised road transport market in the East and Southern African (EA-SA) region poses numerous obstacles to trade by causing severe delays and increased transport costs, as well as challenges to road safety and durability. This programme (which builds on previous actions) addresses these challenges through the implementation of harmonised road transport policies, laws, regulations, systems and standards that affect drivers, loads, vehicles and road infrastructure in the countries of the EA-SA region.
The Tripartite progressed towards the achievement of the African Economic Union (AEU) goals in agreeing on the establishment of a Free Trade Area, and agreed on the prioritisation of infrastructure development in the region through their respective treaties, protocols and agreement as part of the comprehensive Tripartite and Trade Facilitation Programme (TTTFP).
The following map highlights the 26 countries in the Eastern and Southern African (ESA) region that are members of the Tripartite formed by SADC (Southern African Development Community) – indicated in blue on the map, EAC (East African Community) – indicated in green on the map, and COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) – indicated in yellow on the map. Certain countries are members of more than one of these Regional Economic Communities (RECs). Note that islands such as the Republic of Madagascar and the Union of the Comoros do not have active cross border road transport operators on the continent and are therefore not included for the facilitation programme.