COMESA Launches 1st African Digital Free Trade Area

COMESA in November 2017 launched the COMESA Digital Free Trade Area (DFTA), the first in Africa. The DFTA is an online platform that aims to increase trade flow between member states by reducing or eliminating barriers to trade. The platform is modelled on the Malaysian Digital Free Trade Area and comprises three segments; e-trade, e-logistics and e-legislation.

According to COMESA in an article published on their website, awareness workshops are being conducted in the 15 participating member states including Zimbabwe. The first workshop was hosted on 24 January 2018 in Seychelles. Once roll-out is complete, Zimbabwean exporters will be able to do business online as the platform will allow them to
link to transporting companies, clearing agents (e-logistics), relevant Government departments handling trade, and with other importers and exporters within the COMESA bloc.

Users will also be able to raise electronic Certificates of Origin (e-legislation), and to settle payments electronically (e-trade). By actively participating in the DFTA, companies will reduce the time their goods spend at border queues, promote efficiency in the clearance and transportation of their goods and access a wider target market for their products.
These positive developments are expected to help grow trade in a similar manner to the DFTA’s Malaysian counterpart, which is expected, by 2025, to double SMEs’ goods exports to US$38 billion, create 60,000 Malaysian jobs as well as facilitate trade worth USD$65 billion. The Malaysian DFTA was linked to, further uplifting the reach of Malaysian exporters.
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Publish Date: Thursday 08 March 2018



188 Sam Nujoma Street Avondale Harare, Zimbabwe

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