COMESA? Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is the evolution of a preferential-trade area aimed at stimulating trade in the region.
COMESA (as defined by its Treaty) was established 'as an organisation of free independent sovereign states which have agreed to co-operate in developing their natural and human resources for the good of all their people' and as such it has a wide-ranging series of objectives which necessarily include in its priorities the promotion of peace and security in the region.
The body has 19 member states with a combined population of nearly 400 million. A free trade area (FTA) exists across 11 member states: Djibouti, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Sudan, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Burundi and Rwanda. The body aims to achieve a customs union by 2012.