Burundi and Rwanda have become the latest Comesa country to join the Free Trade Area (FTA). With the increase in membership from nine to 11 countries the FTA will now account for 54% of the region’s population and 80.5% of total Comesa GDP. The other countries that comprise the FTA are Djibouti, Egypt, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The 20 countries that make up Comesa are Angola, Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. They aim to integrate their economies by strengthening their trade and investment links. This approach aims at achieving full economic co-operation through a gradual process starting with the creation of a free trade area, then a customs union, followed by a common market and ending with an economic community.