We had this discussion on the COMESA Digital Free Trade Area (DFTA) on 24 September 2020. We had experts in the area from Kenya and South Africa. Here is a brief summary of the discussion.
What is the COMESA DFTA?
It is a digital platform that facilitates trade within COMESA. COMESA DFTA has three pillars, e-logistics, e-trade, and e-regulations. E- regulations help to create a working legal environment to ensure the DFTA runs smoothly. E-logistics enables items like e-certificates of origin and digitalization of e-finance systems. E-trade helps to reduce cost of trade through facilitating negotiations in real time.
What’s the background on COMESA DFTA?
It was launched in 2018 and was modelled on the Malaysia digital free trade zone. However, the COMESA DFTA is not fully effective. Nonetheless, COMESA DFTA seems to hold very good potential for the member states. Hence, its progress and full implementation is something to look out for.
What are some challenges likely to face the COMESA DFTA?
Top most, the COMESA DFTA will rely heavily on block chain technology. This brings into focus on issues of internet connectivity and development of technology within the member states. In reality the countries involved have huge disparities on internet connectivity. Additionally, the social political issues facing the different countries present real challenges.
Write to us in case you have any questions on the COMESA DFTA. We will be happy to help.
If you have any questions on tax related questions within COMESA please contact the tax team here.