COMESA: Prospects and Challenges for Regional Trade Integration

Solomon Girma Taddesse


The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) was established with a view to achieve sustainable development through progressive realization of integration, begin with preferential trade area then becoming a common market and finally transforming into economic community. In COMESA, member states have been obligated to establish a customs union, abolish all non-tariff barriers, and determine a common external tariff and follow common standards of custom procedures. Among those commitments, FTA is established to facilitate regional integration through zero customs tariffs on goods traded among the Member States. The study has found that, less diversity in trade, overlapped memberships, heterogeneity of the economy, loss of import-export tax revenue, lack of political commitment, loss of national sovereignty, poor private sector participation, and poor infrastructure were identified as challenge to achieve the objective of COMESA. Therefore, states needs to take affirmative action’s including harmonizing their national trade policies in the manner of pre portrayed goal of COMESA-FTA arrangement. In doing so, it needs to venture the expected challenges of membership to COMESA-FTA and potential gains from trade liberalization.

Keywords: COMESA, Regional Integration, Free Trade Area

DOI: 10.7176/IAGS/76-02

Publication date:September 30th 2019

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