The Republic of Madagascar has signed the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) Agreement that brings together the three regional economic communities of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC) and South African Development Community (SADC) into a single free trade area.
The TFTA constitutes 57 per cent of Africa’s population and with a combined GDP of $1.3 trillion as of 2015, is one of the largest free trade areas in the world.
Madagascar becomes the 20th country to sign the agreement, following South Africa which signed the TFTA Agreement in July 2017 during the 6th Meeting of the Tripartite Sectoral Ministerial Committee on Trade, Customs, Finance, Economic Matters and Home Affairs in Kampala, Uganda.
It was signed by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Madagascar Mahafaly Solonandrasana on behalf of the Government in Antananarivo, Madagascar.
Egypt is the only country which has ratified the Agreement that requires 14 ratifications to enter force.
The Chairperson of the Tripartite Task Force, Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko has reported progress in ongoing TFTA negotiations and confirmed that the task force is mobilizing resources to facilitate the necessary consultative meetings.
Uganda’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Amelia Kyambadde, noted that the intra-Tripartite trade is only 19 per cent of the continent’s $930 billion total trade due to low industrialization, restricted movement of labour, poor infrastructure and high dependency on the export of unprocessed commodities.
The Tripartite provides the opportunities to unlock the enormous trade and investment potential of the bloc and the business community awaits the opening up of the market of over 600 million people.
Rob Davies, the South African Minister of Trade and Industry observed that the TFTA was a building block for the Continental Free Trade Area.
Madagascar also revealed today, the appointment of Vonintsalama Andriambololona as the new minister of finance and budget, a day after the previous minister resigned, citing a lack of support, Reuters reported.