The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) was established by Treaty in 1994, with the goal of being 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. Specifically, COMESA plans to be a single trade and investment area in which tariffs, non-tariffs and other impediments to the movement of goods, services, capital and people will be removed, while trade in goods and services from the region will have achieved global market competitiveness. COMESA is the foremost building block for continental integration. First, it is part and a driver of the African Union, the African Economic Community and the Tripartite area that comprise of COMESA, the East Africa Community and the Southern Africa Development Community (COMESA-EAC-SADC). Secondly, it is the largest of the eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs) recognised by the African Union and brings together 21-member states with a total population of 560 million people, and a combined GDP of over US$ 768 billion. It is also the REC that integrates most of the countries of the Great Lakes region covering Central, Eastern and Southern Africa, with significant need for enhanced cross-border economic activities. 
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