President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is scheduled to inaugurate on Wednesday the third COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Summit.
Leaders of 25 African states - which are members in the three African blocs - will take part in the event, but Libya will not attend.
The summit will start with Egypt's national anthem, then COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya, the Chair of the Tripartite Task Force, will deliver a speech.
President Sisi will then deliver a speech that will be followed by speeches of President of the World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim and Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Mukhisa Kituyi.
Senior officials ministers involved in the negotiations will meet prior to the summit to work on the reports that will be presented to the heads of state for consideration. These will include the report on the Third Meeting of the
Tripartite Council of Ministers and the Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement, the Declaration Launching Phase II Negotiations for the Tripartite Free Trade Area and Roadmap.
During the summit, African leaders will sign the Sharm el Sheikh declaration and the Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement (FTA).
The Tripartite FTA encompassing the 25 member states from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), with a combined population of 625 million people and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD 1.2 trillion, will account for half of the membership of the African Union and 58% of the continent’s GDP.
The Tripartite FTA popularly known as the Grand Free Trade Area, will be the largest economic bloc on the continent and the launching pad for the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in 2017.
The launching of the Tripartite Free Trade Area is the first phase of implementing a developmental regional integration strategy that places high priority on infrastructure development, industrialization and free movement of business persons.
The Tripartite FTA offers significant opportunities for business and investment within the Tripartite and will act as a magnet for attracting foreign direct investment into the Tripartite region. The business community, in particular, will benefit from an improved and harmonized trade regime which reduces the cost of doing business as a result of elimination of overlapping trade regimes due to multiple memberships.