COMESA’s online market will reduce cross-border trade barriers – officials

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has stepped up efforts to promote cross-border trade by embracing e-commerce to be able to “minimise physical barriers”. to trade across the region. Dr Francis Mangeni, the COMESA director of trade and customs, said that trade facilitation is a key priority for Africa, and a “digital free trade area (FTA) is a practical way of increasing intra-regional trade and creating wealth”.

Mangeni added that the online FTA will be rolled out soon enabling member states to trade commodities, goods and services without need to travel.

In a statement, Mangeni added that providing traders with the necessary digital tools will help boost intra-regional trade and enhance competitiveness of COMESA members in global trade. The official was speaking after a two-day workshop on the digital free trade area held in the Seychelles last week.

Speaking in an interview with The New Times about the development, Geoffrey Kamanzi, the PSF director for trade facilitation and negotiations, said the move is a “timely measure that will help reduce the cost of doing business within the bloc”.

It is also a unique opportunity to further realize the potential of free trade through ICT, as well as contribute to greater regional integration.

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