AuthorCornelius Dube
Published date01 December 2021
Date01 December 2021
Symposium: Competition Policy and Law within the Context of the Continental Integration:
What Are the Sticking Issues for African Countries?
Cornelius Dube*
Africa is now characterized by a strong momentum away from regional integration, with the focus
having shifted toward a merger of the regional cooperation agreements to form broader initiatives as
well as integration of the whole continent. On the one hand, there is the Tripartite Free Trade Area
(TFTA), which is a merger of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the
East African Community (EAC), and the Southern Africa Development Community. Twenty-two of
the 27 countries had signed the TFTA Agreement by April 2020, even though only eight countries
ratified it, leaving only six countries for it to enter into force.
Among other reasons, the TFTA is
intended to serve as a single market characterized by free movement of goods as well as services so as
to promote intraregional trade to promote economic and social development of the region.
agreement also specifies that the cooperation that will guide partners has to be based not only on the
principles of equality but also of fair competition. In that respect, the need for member countries
negotiate competition policy protocols was noted. This requirement for negotiating competition policy
protocols by member countries generally presupposes that there is some capacity among the members
to understand and enforce competition policy, which might not necessarily be correct as there are still
some countries without active competition regimes.
Despite the TFTA, strides have also been made toward the African Continental Free Trade Area
(AfCFTA), for which the TFTA is also expected to serve as an input. The AfCFTA achieved the
necessary threshold for continental implementation in May 2019 following the signing of the agree-
ment in February 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda. The agreement entered into force on May 30, 2019, for the
24 countries that had ratified it by that date. The operational phase of the AfCFTA was launched during
the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) on the agreement in
Niamey, Niger on July 7, 2019, and trading commenced on January 1, 2021. Since the signing of the
Agreement in Kigali, 36 AU member states had ratified the agreement and deposited their instruments
with the African Union Commission by April 21, 2021. The AfCFTA is aimed at creating a single
market for both goods and services, which would deepen the continent’s economic integration, while
*Zimbabwe Economic Policy Analysis and Research Unit, Harare, Zimbabwe.
Corresponding Author:
Cornelius Dube, Zimbabwe Economic Policy Analysis and Research Unit, Harare, Zimbabwe.
1. Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Botswana and Namibia.
2. A news item from of April 23, 2020, entitled “SADC takes over Tripartite ec onomic group leadership.”
Available: Accessed 14 June 2020.
3. Article 4 of the Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement.
The Antitrust Bulletin
2021, Vol. 66(4) 525–527
ªThe Author(s) 2021
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/0003603X211045442

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