Established in 1994, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) aims to replace the former Preferential Trade Zone (PTA). Thus, the COMESA treaty brings together a set of independent, free, and sovereign states agreeing to cooperate for the development of their natural and human resources. Hence, COMESA's main objective is to form a great economic and trade unit through regional integration.
With 21 member states, the common market of eastern and southern Africa covers an area of 12 million km2 with a global GDP of 768 billion dollars and a population of around 583 million.
Based on its institutions, COMESA responds to the specific needs of the region. Thus, African expertise in targeted areas is put at the service of entrepreneurs, and financial institutions participate in skills development and in-depth market research.
To support the integration program, these financial institutions make it possible to:
• Provide essential credit through the Bank of Commerce and Development
• Provide insurance and reinsurance for non-commercial risks through the African Trade Insurance Agency and ZEP - Re (PTA) Reinsurance Company
• Facilitate international payments thanks to the regional payment and settlement system
• Support competition in the region through the COMESA Competition Commission
Tunisia signed the COMESA membership agreement in July 2018. This agreement entered into force in June 2019. The Free Trade Area has been accessible for Tunisian products since January 2020.