African regional blocs to establish free trade area to boost business

freetrade-RogerWollstadt-flickrThe free trade zone is intended to increase investment opportunities in eastern and southern Africa. (Image source: RogerWollstadt/Flickr) Members of African regional blocs have agreed to launch a tripartite free trade zone in the continent to increase business and investment opportunities

Ministers from regional blocs such as East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) met in Bujumbara, Burundi to launch a tripartite Free Trade Area (FTA), which is touted to be the largest economic bloc on the continent.

A statement issued by officials after the meeting stated that the tripartite FTA will encompass 26 member states from three blocs with a population of 625mn and a combined GDP of US$1.2 trillion.

It would offer significant opportunities for business and investment within the tripartite and help harness foreign direct investment (FDI) into the tripartite region. The business community, in particular, will benefit from an improved and harmonised trade regime that reduces the cost of doing business, added the statement.

Additionally, the tripartite summit of heads of state and government is slated to meet in Cairo, Egypt in December 2014 and launch the FTA.

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