The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) has asked its members to ratify the tripartite free trade area (TFTA) and as the deadline for remaining signatories is fast approaching, Malawi has not yet signed for the trade opportunity.
A background to the TFTA shows Heads of State and Government of COMESA, East African Community (EAC) and SADC, met on 10 June 2015 in Egypt at the Third Tripartite Summit to officially launch the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA). The initiatives general objectives were as follows;
a) promote economic and social development of the Region;
b) create a large single market with free movement of goods and services to promote intra-regional trade;
c) enhance the regional and continental integration processes; and
d) build a strong Tripartite Free Trade Area for the benefit of the people of the Region.
Industry, Trade and Tourism Minister, Francis Kasaila, said that Malawi is still consulting and will only ratify after consultations are concluded. With Malawi already struggling in its exports, one would think that the TFTA would promote the imports and exports sector, but the responsible authorities are still looking into whether or not to join the TFTA.