The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), a tripartite group of regional economic communities in eastern and southern Africa, have set June 2021 as the new deadline to achieve the threshold of 14 ratifications required to enable the TFTA to enter into force.
Currently, only ten member states have ratified the agreement, with four more needed to attain the ratification threshold. These are Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Botswana, Egypt, Burundi, Zambia, Eswatini, Namibia, and South Africa.
The deadline was set during the 2nd Extra-Ordinary Meeting of the Tripartite Council of Ministers, held virtually on 15th February 2021.
The tripartite group, launched on 10th June 2015 in Egypt, brings together member states of COMESA, Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), and the East African Community (EAC).
The Ministers reiterated that the AfCFTA (Africa Continental Free Trade Area) implementation this year has provided the necessary push to countries that have not ratified the TFTA to do so.
The EAC, COMESA, and SADC Member and Partner States represent 53% of the African Union membership, constitute over $1.4 trillion Gross Domestic Product (GDP), translating to about 60% of African continental GDP and a combined estimated population of 800 million. This thus makes the Tripartite Free Trade Area an important building block for the implementation of the AfCFTA.