As they wait four more countries needed to reach the threshold of 14 ratifications required to enable the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) enter into force, ministers from the tripartite group have set June 2021 as the deadline.
The new deadline was set during the 2nd Extra-Ordinary Meeting of the Tripartite Council of Ministers held virtually on February 15. The new deadline coincides with the sixth anniversary of the launch of the TFTA Agreement on 10 June 2015 in Egypt.
The tripartite group brings together three of Africa’s major regional economic communities of COMESA, the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
Currently, 10 member/partner states have ratified the agreement with four more needed to attain the ratification threshold.
The ten are Botswana, Burundi, Egypt, Eswatini, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa and Zambia.
The regional communities represent 53 percent of the African Union membership, constitute over US$1.4 trillion Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is roughly 60 percent of African continental GDP and a combined estimated population of 800 million, making the TFTA an important building block for the implementation of the AfCFTA.
Besides the TFTA ratification, the Ministers adopted the guidelines for management and monitoring of safe cross-border movement of persons and personal goods while mitigating the spread of the Coronavirus.