Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Jun 2, 2022, 7:18

Short for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA] was established in 1994, and it replaced the erstwhile PTA (Preferential Trade Area). It is an organisation that consists of sovereign states who have come together to pool their resources, both human and natural, for the benefit of all people. One of the core objectives of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA] is the development of a massive scale unit that can counter the barriers that an individual state faces with the backing of its economic and trade resources.

At present, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA] consists of 20 member states, including those from Africa and regions in the Indian Ocean.

Services Offered By Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA]

There are many ways in which Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA] proposes to assist its partners. Included in these services are the following:

  • Offering a wider market with better competition and harmony in operations.
  • Improving industrial productivity and enhanced competitiveness.
  • Increasing agricultural production and levying food security measures.
  • Exploring available natural resources with a rational approach.
  • Improved harmony in monetary, banking and financial policies.
  • Enhancing the reliability of transport and improving communications infrastructure.

To deliver these services to its partners, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA] is taking steps to create a unified space. The organisation is instrumental in creating a regional marketplace without any internal frontiers and providing a space through which all types of goods, services and capital move without restriction. They are also formulating common policies that aim to make structural changes and improve regional development. The organisation is also instrumental in coordinating macroeconomic policies.

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Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA] - Concerted Efforts

Through the concerted efforts of the organisation, the following services are also delivered:

  1. Formulation of a competition policy.
  2. Taking adequate measures that aim to strengthen the mechanisms of the market.
  3. Assuring irreversible convertibility of currencies.
  4. Fully integrating banking and other financial services.
  5. Pursuing measures for the creation of a monetary union.

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA] happens to be one of the pillars of the African Economic Community. The organisation expanded recently in several free-trade zones to include members of the African Block, including the East African Community (EAC) and South Africa Development Community (SADC). In recent news, it has also become known that Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA] is considering a mutual visa scheme that will help to boost the state of tourism in the region.

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Member Countries of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA]

As per the current member count of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA].

The following countries are a part of the organisation -

  • Djibouti
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Somalia
  • Egypt
  • Libya
  • Sudan
  • Tunisia
  • Comoros
  • Madagascar
  • Mauritius
  • Seychelles
  • Burundi
  • Kenya
  • Malawi
  • Rwanda
  • Uganda
  • Eswatini
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
  • Democratic Republic of Congo

Several former members, including Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania, Namibia, and Angola, have now left the partnership of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.

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FAQs on Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA]

Q:1 Mention the names of the organs with decision making power in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA].

The decision-making authority of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA] rests with the COMESA authority, which composes of several heads of state or the government. Further, the decision making authority of COMESA rests with the council of ministers and the court of justice. The court's opinion may be sought for any matter that the council itself is unable to resolve.

Q:2 Name some of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA] institutes charged with the duty to promote development.

The following institutions have been charged with the development initiatives of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA] -

  • The PTA Bank (Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank) in Bujumbura, Burundi.
  • The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA] Clearing House in Harare, Zimbabwe.
  • The COMESA Association of Commercial Banks in Harare, Zimbabwe.
  • The COMESA Leather Institute in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
  • The COMESA Re-Insurance Company (ZEP-RE) in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • The Regional Investment Agency in Cairo, Egypt.
  • COMTEL Project, aimed at creating regional telecommunications infrastructure.

Q:3 Does the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA] accept recommendations from any other policy-making bodies?

Some lower-level policy-making organs make recommendations to Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA], including The Inter-Governmental Committee, The Twelve Technical Committees, The Consultative Committee of the Business Community and other Interest Groups and the COMESA secretariat.

Q:4 Where are the present headquarters of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA]?

The headquarters of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa [COMESA] is in Lusaka, Zambia.