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     members of AEC pillar blocs      states signatories to the AEC Treaty, but not participating in any of the pillars

The African Economic Community (AEC) is an organization of African Union states establishing grounds for mutual economic development among the majority of African states. The stated goals of the organization include the creation of free trade areas, customs unions, a single market, a central bank, and a common currency (see African Monetary Union) thus establishing an economic and monetary union.


Pillars of the AEC

Currently there are multiple regional blocs in Africa, also known as Regional Economic Communities (RECs), many of which have overlapping memberships. The RECs consist primarily of trade blocs and, in some cases, some political and military cooperation. Most of these RECs form the "pillars" of AEC, many of which also have an overlap in some of their member states. Due to this high proportion of overlap it is likely that some states with several memberships will eventually drop out of one or more RECs. Several of these pillars also contain subgroups with tighter customs and/or monetary unions of their own:

These pillars and their corresponding subgroups are as follows:

Pillars Subgroups
Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD)
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)
East African Community (EAC)
Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS/CEEAC) Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC)
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA)

West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ)

Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)
Southern African Development Community (SADC) Southern African Customs Union (SACU)
Arab Maghreb Union (AMU/UMA)

Pillar membership

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Founding states (1998):

Joined later:

Founding states (1994):

Joined later:

Former members:
Founding states (1975):

Joined later:

Former members:
UEMOA-94: UEMOA state from 1994

UEMOA-97: UEMOA state from 1997
WAMZ-00: WAMZ state from 2000

Founding states (2001):

Joined later:

Founding states (1985):

Joined later:

CEMAC-99: CEMAC state from 1999
Founding states (1980):

Joined later:

Applicant countries:
SACU-70: SACU state from 1970

SACU-90: SACU state from 1990

Founding states (1986):

Joined later:

Founding states (1989):

     member states; year of joining      member states; year of joining; cooperation in the framework of the bloc stalled      candidate states; year of application

1 The Arab Maghreb Union does not participate in the AEC so far, because of opposition by Morocco

REC pillars of the African Economic Community.
Active REC pillars of the African Economic Community.

Other blocs

Other trade blocs in Africa not part of the African Economic Community.

Other African regional blocs, not participating in the AEC (their members can be part of other regional blocs which do participate), are the following.

Their membership is as follows:

2005 membership: 1976 membership: 1984 membership: 1970 membership: 1973 membership:

Joined later:

1 Only African GAFTA members are listed.
GAFTA is the only bloc not currently stalled.


The AEC founded through the Abuja Treaty, signed in 1991 and entered into force in 1994 is envisioned to be created in six stages:

  1. (to be completed in 1999) Creation of regional blocs in regions where such do not yet exist
  2. (to be completed in 2007) Strengthening of intra-REC integration and inter-REC harmonisation
  3. (to be completed in 2017) Establishing of a free trade area and customs union in each regional bloc
  4. (to be completed in 2019) Establishing of a continent-wide customs union (and thus also a free trade area)
  5. (to be completed in 2023) Establishing of a continent-wide African Common Market (ACM)
  6. (to be completed in 2028) Establishing of a continent-wide economic and monetary union (and thus also a currency union) and Parliament
  • End of all transition periods: 2034 at the latest

Stages progress

as of September 2007

  • Stage 1: Completed, only Arab Maghreb Union members and Sahrawi Republic not participating. Somalia is participating, but no practical implementation as of yet.
  • Stage 2: Steady progress, nothing factual to check.
  • Stage 3:
  Regional blocs - pillars of the African Economic Community (AEC)
CEMAC Common UEMOA WAMZ Common SACU Common
Free Trade Area stalled progressing 1 fully in force fully in force proposed for 2007 ? fully in force proposed stalled fully in force progressing 2 stalled
Customs Union stalled proposed for 2008 fully in force fully in force proposed for 2011 ? fully in force proposed for 2007 stalled fully in force proposed for 2010 stalled

1 Members not yet participating: DR Congo (in talks to join), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Seychelles (in talks to join), Swaziland (on derogation until SACU gives permission for Swaziland to join the FTA), Uganda (to join very soon)[1]
2 Members not yet participating: Angola, DR Congo, Seychelles [2]

  • Stage 4: no progress yet
  • Stage 5: no progress yet
  • Stage 6: no progress yet

Overall progress

Regional bloc Free Trade Area Customs Union Economic and monetary union Free Travel Political pact Defence pact
Single Market Currency Union Visa-free Border-less
AEC proposed for 2019 proposed for 2019 proposed for 2023 proposed for 2028 proposed for 2028  ?
CEN-SAD proposed for 2010
COMESA in force 1 proposed for 2008  ? proposed for 2018
EAC in force in force proposed for 2009 proposed for 2009 proposed  ? proposed for 2010
ECCAS CEMAC in force in force  ? in force
Common proposed for 2007 ? proposed for 2011 ? proposed proposed proposed  ? in force
ECOWAS UEMOA in force in force  ? in force
WAMZ  ? proposed for 2009
Common proposed 2 proposed for 2007  ? proposed in force 1 proposed proposed in force
SADC SACU in force in force de-facto in force 1  ?
Common [3] proposed for 2008 3 proposed for 2010 proposed for 2015 proposed for 2016

1 not all members participating yet
2 telecommunications, transport and energy - proposed
3 sensitive goods to be covered from 2012

Africa Free Trade Zone

The Africa Free Trade Zone (AFTZ) is a free trade zone announced at the EAC-SADC-COMESA Summit on Wednesday October 22, 2008 by the heads of Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC). The African Free Trade Zone is also referred to as the African Free Trade Area in some official documents and press releases.


The leaders of the three AFTZ trading blocks, COMESA, EAC, and SADC, announced the historic agreement, an agreement aimed to create a single free trade zone to be named the African Free Trade Zone, consisting of 26 countries with a GDP of an estimated $624bn (£382.9bn). It is hoped that the African Free Trade Zone agreement would ease access to markets within the AFTZ zone and end problems arising from the fact that several of the member countries in the AFTZ belong to multiple regional groups.

The African Free Trade Zone announced at the EAC-SADC-COMESA Summit (also known the AFTZ Summit and Tripartite Summit) effectively is the realization of a dream more than a hundred years in the making, a trade zone spanning the length of African continent from Cape to Cairo, from North African Egypt all the way to the southern-most tip of Africa in South Africa (Cape Town). The Cape to Cairo dream was envisioned by Cecil Rhodes and other British imperialists in the 1890s and was expressed in different contexts and versions including, but not limited to, the following ideals: Cape to Cairo Road, Cape to Cairo Railway, Cape to Cairo Telegraph, and Cape to Cairo Trade Union.

While other powers, notably Germany and Portugal had colonies or spheres of influence in the Cape to Cairo trade zone contemplated, the primary benefactor of the Cape to Cairo union would have been the Great Britain and British Empire. The biggest difference in the idea of the original Cape to Cairo zone and its current incarnation is that the African Free Trade Zone is the creation of African Countries for the mutual benefit and development of the AFTZ member countries, their peoples and the whole of continent of Africa rather than a trade zone for the benefit of Great Britain. Ultimately, it is hoped the AFTZ would serve as a key building block to African Unity and the realization of a united Africa under the auspices of the African Union.

Another important difference between the original and current ideal is that the AFTZ encompasses an area greater than the one even Cecil Rhodes could have imagine. The original Cape to Cairo idea in Cecil Rhodes' time and now under the AFTZ is a free trade zone spanning the whole continent from Cape Town in South Africa to Cairo in Egypt. Cecil Rhodes' Cape to Cairo would have involved at most a dozen countries. The current rendition of the Cape to Cairo zone actualized by the AFTZ encompasses most of Africa, almost half of the countries (26 out of 54), more than half of the production, trade, population, land mass and resources. If it actualizes its potential and becomes a truly integrated economic union, the AFTZ could actually rival any other economic union with its vast natural resources, huge markets, young population, and great technical know-how (mostly courtesy of SADC in general and the Republic of South Africa in particular).

In addition to eliminating duplicative membership and the problem of member states also participating in other regional economic cooperation schemes and regional political and security cooperation schemes that may compete with or undermine each other, the African Free Trade Zone further aims to strengthen the AFTZ block's bargaining power when negotiating international deals.

Analysts believe that the African Free Trade Zone agreement will help intra-regional trade and boost growth. See the BBC October 23, 2008 story on the AFTZ.

The AFTZ is considered a major step in the implementation of the AEC, an organization of African Union states establishing grounds for mutual economic development among the majority of African states. The stated goals of the AEC organization include the creation of free trade areas, customs unions, a single market, a central bank, and a common currency thus establishing an economic and monetary union for the African Union.

The trade blocs

The three trade blocs that agreed to and make up the AFTZ, the COMESA, the EAC and the SADC, are already well-established in their own right and cover varying swathes of land, economic systems, political systems and a varied number of peoples (which includes Arabs in the North, multi-racial peoples in the East and South, including significant numbers of European Africans—Africans descended from the caucasian races of Europe—Asian Africans, including Indians, Chinese and other Asian groups as well as Colored Africans—mixed race Africans numbering millions in South Africa). Many of the membership of the three AFTZ member trade blocks overlap with several countries being a member of more than one of the AFTZ member trade blocks as well as a member of other alliances within and without the three trade blocks.


The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) traces its genesis to the mid 1960s. The idea of regional economic co-operation received considerable impetus from the buoyant and optimistic mood that characterised the post-independence period in most of Africa. The mood then was one of pan-African solidarity and collective self-reliance born of a shared destiny. It was under these circumstances that the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) convened a ministerial meeting of the then newly independent states of Eastern and Southern Africa in 1965 to consider proposals for the establishment of a mechanism for the promotion of sub-regional economic integration. The meeting, which was held in Lusaka, Zambia, recommended the creation of an Economic Community of Eastern and Central African states.

An Interim Council of Ministers, assisted by an Interim Economic Committee of officials, was subsequently set up to negotiate the treaty and initiate programmes on economic co-operation, pending the completion of negotiations on the treaty.

In 1978, at a meeting of Ministers of Trade, Finance and Planning in Lusaka, the creation of a sub-regional economic community was recommended, beginning with a sub-regional preferential trade area which would be gradually upgraded over a ten-year period to a common market until the community had been established. To this end, the meeting adopted the "Lusaka Declaration of Intent and Commitment to the Establishment of a Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern Africa" (PTA) and created an Inter-governmental Negotiating Team on the Treaty for the establishment of the PTA. The meeting also agreed on an indicative time-table for the work of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Team.

After the preparatory work had been completed a meeting of Heads of State and Government was convened in Lusaka on 21 December 1981 at which the Treaty establishing the PTA was signed. The Treaty came into force on 30 September 1982 after it had been ratified by more than seven signatory states as provided for in Article 50 of the Treaty.

The PTA was established to take advantage of a larger market size, to share the region's common heritage and destiny and to allow greater social and economic co-operation, with the ultimate objective being to create an economic community. The PTA Treaty envisaged its transformation into a Common Market and, in conformity with this, the Treaty establishing COMESA was signed on 5 November 1993 in Kampala, Uganda and was ratified a year later in Lilongwe, Malawi on 8 December 1994.

It is important to underline the fact that the establishment of PTA, and its transformation into COMESA, was in conformity with the objectives of the Lagos Plan of Action (LPA) and the Final Act of Lagos (FAL) of the Organization of African Unity. Both the LPA and the FAL envisaged an evolutionary process in the economic integration of the continent in which regional economic communities would constitute building blocks upon which the creation of an African Economic Community would ultimately be erected.

The Member States of COMESA are as follows:

Burundi Comoros Democratic Republic of Congo Djibouti Egypt Eritrea Ethiopia Kenya Libya Madagascar Malawi Mauritius Rwanda Seychelles Sudan Swaziland Uganda Zambia Zimbabwe

COMESA’s Vision is to “be a fully integrated, internationally competitive regional economic community with high standards of living for all its people ready to merge into an African Economic Community.”

East African Community

The East African Community (EAC) is the regional intergovernmental organization of the Republics of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania with its Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. The Treaty for Establishment of the East African Community was signed on 30 November 1999 and entered into force on 7 July 2000 following its ratification by the original three Partner States – Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Rwanda and Burundi acceded to the EAC Treaty on 18 June 2007 and became full Members of the Community with effect from 1 July 2007.

The EAC was originally set up in 1967. However, disagreements between the original founding members, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, led to its collapse. The 30 November 1999 treaty was signed for its re-establishment and the new EAC came into being in 2000, reincarnated as a more mature group. The EAC is one of the more naturally homogenous of the African trade blocks given the prevalence of Swahili as a common language in its member countries as well as their long history of regional cooperation, even going back to colonial times.

The EAC aims at widening and deepening co-operation among the Partner States in, among others, political, economic and social fields for their mutual benefit. To this extent the EAC countries established a Customs Union in 2005 and are working towards the establishment of a Common Market by 2010, subsequently a Monetary Union by 2012 and ultimately a Political Federation of the East African States.

With the enlargement of the Community in 2007, the EAC really became energized. The realization of a large regional economic bloc encompassing Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda with a combined population of 120 million people, land area of 1.85 million sq kilometres and a combined gross domestic product of $41 billion, "bears great strategic and geopolitical significance and prospects of a renewed and reinvigorated East African Community." See EAC website.

The regional integration process is at a high pitch at the moment. The encouraging progress of the East African Customs Union, the enlargement of the Community with admission of Rwanda and Burundi, the ongoing negotiations of the East African Common Market as well as the consultations on fast tracking the process towards East African Federation all underscore the serious determination of the East African leadership and citizens to construct a powerful and sustainable East African economic and political bloc.

The vision of the EAC is similar to that of the COMESA to “be a fully integrated, internationally competitive regional economic community with high standards of living for all its people ready to merge into the African Economic Community.”

Southern African Development Community

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is the largest, arguably the most integrated and possibly the most successful of all of the African trade blocks (in terms of regional cooperation and the mutal benefit of the members. While South Africa may be the driving force behind a lot of SADC's economic integration, all member countries seem to have greatly benefited. Out of many truly came an organization greater than the sum of its parts. Several SADC countries have the highest GDP in Africa.

The Southern African Development Community has been in existence since 1980, when it was formed as a loose alliance of nine majority-ruled States in Southern Africa known as the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC), with the main aim of coordinating development projects in order to lessen economic dependence on the then apartheid South Africa. The founding Member States are: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

SADCC was formed in Lusaka, Zambia on April 1, 1980, following the adoption of the Lusaka Declaration - Southern Africa: Towards Economic Liberation.

The transformation of the organization from a Coordinating Conference into a Development Community (SADC) took place on August 17, 1992 in Windhoek, Namibia when the Declaration and Treaty was signed at the Summit of Heads of State and Government thereby giving the organization a legal character.

The SADC Member States are as follows:

Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The SADC covers a population of some 248 million people and a zone whose combined GDP is $379bn in 2006.

SADC headquarters are located in Gaborone, Botswana.

Historic significance of the AFTZ

The EAC-SADC-COMESA Summit is considered historic because for the first time, since the birth of the African Union, several key building blocks of the AEC have met on how to integrate territories and moving towards deepening and widening integration within the overall Abuja Treaty for the establishment of the AEC. Further, for the first time a truly transcontinental union came into being, ranging from the North to the South of the continent. The AFTZ (EAC, COMESA and SADC) currently have a combined population of 527 million and combined GDP of US$625 billion. In size and capacity, the AFTZ rivals most trade blocks. The only question is whether the AFTZ will fully integrate or simply be another one of those "feel good" African organizations with lofty goals but little results.

The SADC is the largest of the AFTZ member trade blocks and covers a population of some 248 million people and a zone whose cumulative GDP is $379bn in 2006.

COMESA, established in 1994 as a replacement for the Preferential Trade Area, includes 398 million people and the area has a combined GDP of US$286.7bn in 2006. Among its members are Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda and Sudan.

The EAC, the smallest of the member trade blocks in terms of GDP, had a GDP of US$46.6bn in 2006.

Members countries of the AFTZ

The AFTZ membership includes the following countries:

Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Swaziland, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The only natural member of the AFTZ not included was Somalia, due to the civil war that has left most of that country without a functioning government.

AFTZ Summit Presidents

The AFTZ Summit, also referred to as the Tripartite Summit was opened and attended by six African heads of state representing the member trade groups. Attending the opening session on Wednesday were presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Kenya's Mwai Kibaki.

Attendance of the AFTZ Tripartite Summit

The AFTZ Tripartite Summit was attended by the following Heads of State and Government: - His Excellency, Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda; His Excellency, Mr. Mwai Kibaki, President of the Republic of Kenya; His Excellency, Mr. Kgalema Motlanthe, President of the Republic of South Africa; His Excellency, Mr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania; His Excellency Mr Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda; His Excellency Mr Robert Gabriel Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe; Right Honourable Pakalitha Mosisili, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho; His Excellency, Gabriel Ntisezerana, Second Vice President of the Republic of Burundi; and Right Honourable Dr Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Swaziland.

The following Plenipotentiaries represented the Heads of State and Government of the following countries: Honourable Olivier Kamitatu Etshou, Minister of Planning, Democratic Republic of Congo; Honourable Rifki Abdoulkader Bamakhrama, Minister of Trade, and Industry, Republic of Djibouti; honourable Dr Osman Mohamed, Minister of Economic Development, Arab Republic of Egypt; Honourable Dr. Ali Abd Alazziz Alsawi, Secretary General of Economy, Trade and Investment, Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya; Honourable Mrs. Joyce Banda, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Malawi; Honourable Arvind Boolell, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Republic of Mauritius; Honourable Antonion Fernando, Minister of Trade and Industry, Republic of Mozambique; Honourable Bradford Machila, Minister of Lands and Special Representative of His Honour the Vice President and Acting President of the Republic of Zambia; Honourable Honourable Joaquim Duarte da Costa David, Minister of Industry Republic of Angola; Honourable Neo D. Moroka, Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Botswana; Honourable Patrick Pillay, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles; His Excellency Hassan Ibrahim Gadkarim, Ambassador of the Republic of Sudan to Republic of Uganda, Republic of Rwanda and Republicof Burundi; His Excellency Wilfried I. Emvula, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to the African Union and the Economic Commission of Africa, Republic of Namibia; His Excellency Salih Omar Abdu, Ambassador of the State of Eritrea to Republic of Kenya, Republic of Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania; His Excellency Dr. Denis Andriamandroso, Ambassador of the Republic of Madagascar to the Republic of South Africa; His Excellency Ambassador Clifford Sibusiso Mamba, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Kingdom of Swaziland

The following organisations were represented at the Tripartite Summit by their officials : H.E. Erastus J.O. Mwencha, Vice Chairperson, African Union Commission; Mrs. Lalla Ben Barka; Deputy Executive Secretary, UNECA; Mr. Mtchera J. Chirwa, African Development Bank; Dr. Kasaija Apuuli, IGAD; and Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, Executive Secretary, International Conference on the Great Lakes

Also in attendance were Chief Executive Officers of the COMESA, EAC, and SADC - Mr. Erasturs Mwencha, Executive Secretary of COMESA, Amb. Juma Mwapachu, Secretary General of the EAC; Dr Tomaz Augusto Salomao, Executive Secretary, SADC.

SA President on AFTZ

President Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa speaking in Kampala, Uganda, at a meeting of Africa's three regional economic communities, argues that the AFTZ is an important step in the integration of African economies and the eventually union of the continent. With the great uncertainty in the global economy following the food and energy price increases and, more recently, the upheavals in the financial markets, Motlanthe suggested that the advent of the AFTZ could not have been any more timely.

While African and other developing countries had marginal influence over the decisions that had brought the international financial system to the brink of collapse, unjustifiably, the poor and vulnerable of these countries would bear the brunt of the economic downturn.

"It is imperative that effective remedial measures are developed to mitigate the negative impact of the crises, and developing countries must now be included in the governance of international financial institutions," Motlanthe said.

At the same time, it was necessary to work towards a more equitable global trade regime that put the concerns of developing countries, including African countries, at its centre.

He also urged that the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), the Eastern African Community (EAC), and Southern African Development Community (SADC), increase co-operation towards greater integration.

"The process we embark upon today marks a historic step towards fulfilling our obligations under the African Union and the Abuja Treaty framework of continental integration, which recognises that Regional Economic Communities are the building-blocks for the African Economic Community."

The time had come for Comesa, EAC and SADC to bring together their respective regional integration programmes to further enlarge their markets, unlock productive potential, increase the levels of intra-Africa trade, and enhance developmental prospects.

"As a next step in expanding regional markets in Africa, the process we launch today will place us in a stronger position to respond effectively to intensifying global economic competition and will begin to overcome the challenges posed by multiple memberships of regional organisations.

"Let us therefore take the necessary decisions to work systematically and with determination to establish a single free trade area that will weld together our three regions into one," Motlanthe said.

Challenges of the AFTZ

In addition to the usual organizational challenges of building a trade block and economic union from the ground up, integrating three different organizations, and guiding the AFTZ into an integrated regional economic union, the AFTZ faces many other challenges. Included, but not limited to, are the following challenges:

(a) Somalia. The AFTZ cannot integrate all its countries, many of whom are Somalia's neighbors, some of whom meddle in Somalia and/or are directly affected by Somalia's problems, whether piracy, refugee migration or internal conflict, and leave Somalia behind. Somalia, while a real challenge, is truly a test of the resolve of the AFTZ's leaders to advance the whole continent of Africa.

(b) Zimbabwe. SADC has been ineffective in dealing with Zimbabwe and resolving the ongoing and untenable situation in that country. Under the leadership of Thabo Mbeki, SADC took a path of "quiet diplomacy", talking to Robert Mugabe behind the scenes to effect change rather than using the more confrontational approach taken by the West. Zimbabwe, with its high inflation, perennial political instability and mass exodus of people to neighboring countries, particularly South Africa, threatens to destabilize SADC's very peaceful existence if it is not resolved.

(c) Darfur. With Sudan a member, full integration cannot take place and full exploitation of Sudan's potential cannot be realized so long as Sudan has the cloud of Darfur over it.

(d) Congo. With its vast resources and possibly the largest unrealized potential in the world, the Democratic Republic of Congo is a powder keg waiting to explode if not properly handled. Many members AFTZ countries including Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa and Burundi have a history of involvement in the internal affairs of the DRC. Nkunda is believed to be funded in part by Rwanda. The Congo's stability and development must be a priority of the AFTZ.

(e) Djibouti–Eritrea. Within days of the announcement of the AFTZ, Djibouti announced that it may be heading to war with Eritrea if Eritrea does not respect its territorial integrity. One could not help but say, "Come on guys, if we can't handle a simple border dispute without war among trade block members, how can we integrate our economies and become part of the same union?" More importantly, the timing episode could not have happened at a more inopportune time. Were the leaders of the two countries not reading the news about the announcement of the AFTZ. Did not get or briefed about the historic nature of the agreement and its ultimate goals? The more things change, the more the stay the same.

See also

African Economic Community
blocs (REC)
Area (km²) Population GDP (PPP) ($US) Member
in millions per capita
AEC 29,910,442 853,520,010 2,053,706 2,406 53
ECOWAS 5,112,903 251,646,263 342,519 1,361 15
ECCAS 6,667,421 121,245,958 175,928 1,451 11
SADC 9,882,959 233,944,179 737,335 3,152 15
EAC 1,817,945 124,858,568 104,239 1,065 5
COMESA 12,873,957 406,102,471 735,599 1,811 20
IGAD 5,233,604 187,969,775 225,049 1,197 7
266,000 273,008  ?  ? N/A 2
Area (km²) Population GDP (PPP) ($US) Member
in millions per capita
CEMAC 3 3,020,142 34,970,529 85,136 2,435 6
SACU 3 2,693,418 51,055,878 541,433 10,605 5
UEMOA 3 3,505,375 80,865,222 101,640 1,257 8
UMA 4 5,782,140 84,185,073 491,276 5,836 5
GAFTA 5 5,876,960 166,259,603 635,450 3,822 5
1 The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) is a
signatory to the AEC, but not participating in any bloc yet

2 Majority under military occupation by Morocco; some
administered by the SADR

3 Economic bloc inside a pillar REC
4 Proposed for pillar REC, but objecting participation
5 Non-African members of GAFTA are excluded from figures
     smallest value among the blocs compared      largest value among the blocs compared During 2004. Source: CIA World Factbook 2005, IMF WEO Database



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