The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) was established in 1994 as an “endeavor to achieve sustainable economic and social progress in all Member States through increased co-operation and integration in all fields of development particularly in trade, customs and monetary affairs, transport, communication and information, technology, industry and energy, gender, agriculture, environment and natural resources.”
COMESA represents 19 countries in Africa which together represent over 400 million people, $32 billion/year in imports and $82 billion/year in exports. In 2000, nine member states created the COMESA Free Trade Area when they eliminated their tariffs on COMESA originating products. Members ratified a roadmap for a Customs Union at the Eleventh Meeting of the Council of Ministers in 1997. COMESA forms a major market place for internal and external trading in Africa. Visit COMESA website.