The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is a regional economic integration grouping of African states. The member states are Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. They have agreed to promote integration via trade and to develop human and natural resources for the advantage of their citizens.
COMESA places the member states at an advantage of adopting a common custom scheme that abolishes non-tariff barriers to trade between themselves. Furthermore, member countries are in a position to establish conditions regulating the flow of goods from third party countries within the Common Market. In addition, member states can simplify and harmonize their trade agreements and procedures. Also, the states have the benefit of recognizing the unique situation of countries like Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho within the context of the Common Market and give temporary exemptions, as opposed to full application of specified provision in Article 3 of the COMESA treaty.
According to the Article 46 of the treaty, member states have the advantage of enjoying non-tariff goods and services within the Common Market. The states enjoy custom exemptions on all imports of products originating in member countries with value additions amounting to 45 percent.
COMESA member states benefit from cooperation in the field of industrial development because the treaty provides stable investment opportunities. Member states have the advantage of providing high quality goods and services in the Common Market because COMESA treaty recommends elimination of rigidities in manufacturing and production.
COMESA promotes member cooperation in financial and monetary matters and establishes convertibility of their currencies through the Common Monetary Union. Additionally, the members can harmonize their macroeconomic activities and remove the obstacles to the free movement of capital and services within the Common Market.
In the field of agriculture, the member states can easily cooperate in agricultural development and adopt a common agricultural policy in addition to enhancing a food sufficient region. Consequently, the countries have the benefit of cooperating in agricultural research and extension, enhancing rural development and export of agricultural commodities.
COMESA states have the benefit of making regulations to facilitate movement of goods and services within the region and adopting a Third Party Vehicle Insurance Scheme. Additionally, they are in a position of fostering cooperation in transport and communication among themselves; this facilitates the production of goods and services and movement of people.
COMESA accords members the advantage of adopting a regional policy that puts checks on all possible economic and social problems faced during the implementation of the treaty. Furthermore, the states have the benefit of free movement of labor, services, persons, attraction of investors and the right of residence within the COMESA region.