Modelling Trade Flows between Three Southern and Eastern African Regional Trade Agreement: A Case Study

The objectives of this study were to investigate the impact of three RTAs— EAC, COMESA and SADC—on trade flows. The results from the econometric modelling suggest in general that the African RTAs under study have not been performing up to expectations since the impact on trade flows was, at best, very small for EAC and COMESA. In this regard, one could argue that the plausible explanations (extensively discussed in the existing literature) underpinning our findings may include the homogeneous nature of member countries’ exports; the inability of governments to implement measures and decisions taken regionally at a national level; the existing weak infrastructural linkages and the relatively very high level of non tariff measures present in the region. In this regard, such results may cast serious doubts on the potential benefits which could be expected from the enlarged free trade area which was signed by member states in 2008 and which relates to the merging of the three RTAs under review unless some, if not all, of the above-mentioned impediments are properly addressed.