Cabinet yesterday approved the Ratification of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) Agreement which brings together combined membership of COMESA, EAC and SADC under a single free trade area, thereby addressing the challenge of multiple memberships and boosting intra-regional trade and economic development among the Member States.
The Agreement seeks to promote the economic and social development of the Tripartite region, to create a large single market with free movement of goods and services in order to promote intra-regional trade and to enhance the regional and continental integration processes according to Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa.
“In essence, the TFTA will bring together twenty-nine (29) African countries with a combined current population of more than 632 million people and a combined Gross Domestic Product of US$1.3 trillion,” Mutsvangwa told journalists at a media briefing.
“The TFTA constitutes half of the African Union in terms of membership. Such a market naturally creates opportunities for economies of scale for producers of various goods and services in the Tripartite region.”
The Minister also said that Zimbabwe stands to benefit immensely from membership of the TFTA.
“The country will no longer be restricted to the production of traditional goods and, instead, will become the hub for new manufacturing operations that serve wider markets,” Mutsvangwa said.
“The country will substantially reduce the cost of doing business and thereby radically transform its industrial processes and models.”
On 10 June 2015, 26 countries sign the TFTA that stretches from Egypt to South Africa.
Further negotiations on the agreement were launched in South Africa in the hope of creating an African Continental Free Trade Area.