Uganda to Benefit From the Tripartite Free Trade Area
The Third Tripartite Summit of Heads of State and Government from Member States in the three Regional Communities of COMESA, EAC and SADC signed the Sharm El Sheikh Declaration Launching the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area and the Agreement establishing the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite FTA.
Uganda was among the fifteen Member States that signed the Agreement that will enter into force 30 days after 14 of the Member States that have signed the Agreement ratify it and deposit the ratification instruments with the Tripartite Task Force.
The Free Trade area represents an integrated market of 26 countries with a combined population of 632 million people which is 57% of Africa’s population providing a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD$ 1.3 Trillion and contributes 58% of Africa’s GDP.
According to Amelia Kyambadde, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, If the Member States of the Tripartite were to be considered as one Country they would rank 13th in the world in terms of the GDP. “This is a large area that provides expanded trade opportunities to Uganda’s Private Sector.
Kyambadde says in order for Uganda to benefit from the opportunities that this Tripartite arrangement, the country must Address the supply side constraints by increasing production and productivity, Address the infrastructure bottlenecks that make the cost of doing business high and hinder our competitiveness as well as improve on the quality and standards of our goods and services.
According to Kyambadde, the Tripartite Free Trade Area is a unique and ambitious free trade area in that it covers aspects which are not in conventional free trade areas.