Multinational (EAC, COMESA and SADC) - Tripartite Capacity Building Programme, Phase II

Project Summary

Approval Date 20 Jan 2020
Signature Date 23 Apr 2020
Planned Completion Date 28 Aug 2023
Sovereign / Non-Sovereign Sovereign
Sector Multi-Sector
DAC Sector Code 11330
Environmental Category 3
Commitment U.A 850,000
Status Implementation

Project General Description

The proposed operation is a grant of UA850, 000.00 to finance the Tripartite Capacity Building Programme, Phase II in three (3) Regional Economic communities, namely COMESA, East African Community (EAC) and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) Agreement is a major milestone in Africa’s efforts to overcome the challenges of small, fragmented markets and overlapping REC membership, which creates a spaghetti bowl of trade rules. It consolidates the markets of three RECs, namely COMESA, EAC and SADC into a seamless free trade area. Together, these RECs cover a USD1.3 trillion market representing 56% of Africa’s GDP and approximately 740 million consumers spread across 29 Countries. The TFTA also aims at tackling non-tariff barriers to trade (NTBs), which tend to rise as countries resort to unfair regulatory and other trade restricting measures when tariffs fall, thereby inhibiting cross border trade. The Project will complement the support provided by the Bank under TCBP Phase I and give the impetus to implement the negotiated TFTA Agreement. This is a stand-alone operation, within the framework of the Bank’s Regional Integration Strategic Framework (RISF, 2018-2025). The Project will bridge the identified capacity gaps not fully supported by other DPs towards operationalizing the Free Trade Area. Indeed, the proposed operation will provide technical assistance and capacity building to the 3 RECs and their RMCs to operationalize the TFTA Agreement, which was signed in Sharm El Shekh, Egypt in 2015. Key outputs from the Bank’s intervention will be the development of guidelines, procedures, regulations and manuals required to operationalize the Agreement in areas such as rules of origin and dispute settlement. The Project will also support the establishment of online databases for non-tariff measures in Tripartite RMCs, building on the pilots under phase I. This will improve transparency in trade, speed up the resolution of non-tariff barriers (NTBs), deter arbitrary application of regulatory measures that hinder trade, and improve awareness of traders about legitimate regulatory requirements, which provides a foundation for them to improve their capacity for compliance. The Project will also provide training to members of regional business councils/chambers on the applicable rules of origin and disseminate information on TFTA trade rules and opportunities through the Bank-funded 50 million WS Platform for entrepreneurs. The project will also support the implementation of Tripartite Simplified Trade Regime (STR). Implementation will take a period of 24 months, from grant effectiveness.

Project Objectives

The Project will address the key developmental challenge of low intra-African trade focusing on tackling the problems of small, fragmented markets, overlapping Regional Economic Community (REC) membership, which creates a spaghetti bowl of trade rules, a proliferation of non-tariff barriers and information asymmetries, which limit the ability of traders, especially women, to effectively take advantage of market access opportunities. The key outputs will be the development of guidelines/procedures/regulations/manuals necessary for implementation of the TFTA Agreement, and roll out online databases for Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs), building on the pilots under phase I.


The direct beneficiaries are the Tripartite Regional Economic Communities (T-RECs) namely COMESA, EAC and SADC, their member countries, traders (including women traders who are the major beneficiaries of the STR) and business persons in the Tripartite region which covers over half of Africa’s population and GDP. The indirect beneficiaries are consumers who will benefit from a wider choice of goods and services at affordable prices. Investors will also indirectly benefit from the improved business environment brought about by a reduction in impediments to trade.

Participating Organization

African Development Fund


IATI identifier 46002-P-Z1-KZ0-040
Last Update 02 Oct 2022


Contact Details

Name MABUZA Zodwa Florence

Geographic Location

Country Multinational
Coordinates Location Name
-3.36667 36.68333 Arusha
-15.4067 28.2871 Lusaka
-24.6545 25.9086 Gaborone