The following maps highlight the 26 countries in the Eastern and Southern African (EA-SA) region that are members of the Tripartite formed by COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) – indicated in yellow, EAC (East African Community) – indicated in green, and SADC (Southern African Development Community) – indicated in blue. Certain countries are members of more than one of these Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
A Memorandum of Understanding on Inter-regional Co-operation and integration was entered into in 2005 to enhance economic development and integration of markets as a stimulus for profitable business in the region. The 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.
At the Tripartite Summit of 22 October 2008, the Heads of State and Government representing the three regional economic communities agreed to establish a single Customs Union, beginning with a Free Trade Area. 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).
The COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding containing provisions on the establishment of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) was signed on 19 January 2011. 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.