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Working Paper 109 - The First Africa Region Review for EAC/COMESA


The main objective of this paper is to present a mapping of trade-related bottlenecks in the EAC/COMESA region to eligible aid-for-trade (AFT) categories, and to articulate a strategy for mobilising significant amounts of aid for trade. To do so, the paper reviews the constraints to trade in EAC/COMESA. It identifies existing AFT-related programmes and activities, and documents the status of their implementation, pointing out any gaps and the causes thereof.

The paper is based on the premise that the EAC/COMESA region faces unique and severe constraints to trade related to the fact that many of the member states are land-locked. This, combined with poor infrastructure and services, cumbersome border procedures, inadequate mainstreaming of trade in national development strategies, and lack of progress in deepening economic integration, explains the region’s dismal trade performance, both intra-regionally and externally. AEC/COMESA is aware of these constraints. The region has launched various initiatives to tackle them. The majority of these initiatives relate to trade facilitation measures.

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