ECCAS - Trade and Market Integration

Given the foundation of ECCAS, the trade and market integration is its core objective. The Article 6 of the Treaty Establishing ECCAS indicates the creation of a free trade area and a customs union in twenty-years. In July 2004, ECCAS launched its free trade area with the aim of establishing a customs union of common external tariff by 2008. The timetable for establishing the free trade area was however postponed due to the weak domestication of agreed procedures by member States[1]. On average, member States reduced only 34 per cent of tariff lines on intra-ECCAS tariffs to zero, making ECCAS the region to have the lowest share of intra-regional trade in terms of gross domestic product compared to Africa’s five sub-regions[2]. To meet the integration challenges, ECCAS Member States adopted in 2007 a strategic integration plan and a vision called the ECCAS Strategic Vision at the Horizon 2025 that aims at building a competitive regional environment to attract private investments in growth areas.

In March 1994, UDEAC was replaced by CEMAC which is a customs and monetary union between six of ECCAS member States, namely: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. The monetary union is operating, however, the operationalization of the customs union has not yet been realized[3].

ECCAS is implementing trade facilitation programmes, including the construction of one-stop border posts that are becoming more frequent in the region. Moreover, ECCAS has undertaken studies on the competition policy and the intellectual property right and is defining a Regional Strategy on investment and establishing a Small and Medium Enterprises Guarantee Fund[4]. Similarly, CEMAC has created a Regional Economic Programme for the period 2009-2015 to attract the private investments by addressing issues relating to, governance and macroeconomic stability, the creation of a common market, and the consolidation of physical infrastructure and support services[5].

[1] African Union, Status of Integration in Africa IV, 2013. Available from

[2] United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Assessing Regional Integration in Africa VII. 2016. Available from

[3] “Central Africa: CEMAC - Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa” Available from 

[4] Ibid.

[5] African Development Bank. Economic Community of Central African States Regional Integration Assistance Strategy paper for Central Africa 2011-2015. 2011. Available from