Zambia has become the latest country to ratify the Tripartite Free Trade Area, a release from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) said on Friday.
The release said Zambia has deposited the instruments of ratification bringing the number of countries that have ratified the agreement and deposited the instruments to nine.
The agreement, being pursued by COMESA, the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), needs a total of 14 countries to enter into force.
COMESA Secretary-General Chileshe Kapwepwe commended Zambia for the bold and significant step taken in supporting regional integration and ultimately the free movement of goods and services in the three regional blocs.
“The prospects for the larger markets and supporting infrastructure will spur industrial development. This will not only create jobs, but it will also have the added advantage of diversifying Africa’s economies that are largely dependent on raw materials,” she said.
Other countries that have so far ratified and deposited the instruments of ratification include Namibia, Egypt, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Rwanda, Burundi and Botswana while the Kingdom of Eswatini has ratified but was yet to deposit the instrument.
The tripartite free trade area brings together 28 countries with a population of over 700 million people and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 1.4 trillion U.S. dollars. Enditem