Private sector views of the implementation of the SADC FTA

Linkages and interaction between governments and the private sector is crucial for the success of not only regional trade agreement negotiations, but its implementation as well. The importance of the private sector in implementation is based on the fact that it is a beneficiary and partner for trade development. However, the private sector is often not sufficiently engaged by governments or regional economic communities (RECs) in implementation processes, especially in Africa. This is demonstrated by the perceptions of business on the effects of the implementation of the Southern African Development Cooperation’s (SADC) Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The International Trade Centre produced a report called the  “Private sector views of the implementation of the SADC FTA” to examine these issues.


The Southern African Development Community (SADC) counts 14 states as members: Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, the Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe (Madagascar is currently suspended). The majority of these countries are part of SADC’s trade scheme set out in the Trade Protocol (the Protocol) which came into force in 2000, after being ratified by two thirds of the member states, and which led to the launch of a free trade area (FTA) between the 13 countries that had acceded to the Protocol in 2008.

The Protocol is the legal basis for the FTA, as it gives legal and practical effect to the member’s commitments under the SADC Treaty. In the spirit of General Agreement Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the SADC FTA liberalizes “substantially all the trade” with members committed to phase out existing tariffs, harmonise trade procedures and documentation within SADC, define SADC rules of origin (RoO), and remove other barriers to trade.


Download the report:

PART 1: Private sector views of the implementation of the SADC FTA [.pdf]

PART 2: Private sector views of the implementation of the SADC FTA [.pdf]