Regional Integration Prospects, Challenges and Opportunities in Africa: A Case of the Tripartite Free Trade Area
There is an old adage that says ‘kopano ke matla’, from Sesotho language, which means unity is strength. This idiom best captures the significance of uniting for a particular desired end in whatever facet of life. Regional integration for this paper is one such facet that will be explored through the lenses of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA). Regional integration is defined, for the purposes of this paper, as a concept which signify political, economic, and cultural high level cooperation between independent states and their people, for mutually beneficial ends. TFTA is a regional bloc or organisation that was formed in 2015 comprising three smaller Regional Economic Communities (RECs) – Southern African Development Community (SADC), East African Community (EAC), and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) merged into one. Amongst other purposes for the formation of TFTA is for it to pave way and provide a blueprint for the Continental Free Trade Area, which was earmarked for 2017. It also seeks to enlarge its markets, and increase its bargaining power when negotiating business deals with other regions and super powers.
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