Lusaka, Tuesday, February 25, 2020: The implementation of the tripartite free trade agreement is now in sight after an increase in the number of countries that will ratify and ratify the agreement. Eight countries have ratified the agreement to date and there are six left to reach the required threshold of 14 for the agreement to enter into force. NAIROBI, September 3 (Xinhua) — Africa`s Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) will enter service in early 2020, an official said Tuesday. Namibia is the youngest country to ratify the TFTA agreement and today the country`s High Commissioner in Zambia, Siyave Haindongo, tabled the ratification instrument to the chair of the tripartite task force Chilishe Kapwepwe, the secretary of COMESA. The comea-EAC-SADC common market covers 26 countries, with a total population of nearly 600 million and a total gross domestic product (GDP) of about $1 trillion. The main objective of the comea-EAC-SADC-Tripartite is to strengthen and deepen the economic integration of the South and East African region. This will be achieved through the harmonization of policies and programmes in the three regional economic communities (REC) in the areas of trade, customs and infrastructure development. The second challenge is political. On 15 July 2015, Burundi held controversial elections, boycotted by the political opposition. The president-in-office, H.
E. Pierre Nkurunziza, easily won under these conditions. There was an attempted coup and instability before the elections, and the ensuing period was marked by instability, violence and even greater threats of violence that led to the exodus of refugees to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Uganda. In South Sudan, a civil war has been raging since December 2013 between forces loyal to President Salvar Kiir and his former vice-president, Riek Machar. As a result, some customs and trade capacity building projects in both countries have been suspended or delayed and the effects have been felt throughout the region. Within the 26-member TFTA, there are countries threatened by major conflicts or conflicts such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt and Libya. Other TFTA countries are preparing for political transitions, such as Tanzania (2015), Rwanda (2016) and Kenya (2017). Peaceful elections and political transition are good for regional integration. The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) is a draft free trade agreement between the Common Market for East Africa and South Africa (COMESA), the Southern African Development Community (CDAA) and the East African Community (EAC).  By creating a single economic space with a harmonized trade policy and regulatory framework, the TFTA solves the problem of multiple memberships, streamlines trade negotiations, reduces business costs, supports industrialization and encourages cross-border infrastructure projects. However, achieving an ambitious free trade agreement (FTA) such as the TFTA is a multidimensional challenge.