Tunisia applied for the membership of the grouping in 2016 after being an observer member since 2005.
According to the Tunisian foreign ministry, this membership will give Tunisian exports access to the markets of 21 countries included in a free-trade zone covering half African countries.
Tunisia has also an observer status in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Formed in 1994, COMESA has 19 member states with a population of over 389 million. Its focus is on the formation of a large economic and trading unit that is capable of overcoming some of the barriers that are faced by individual states.
Tunisia is also a member of the Maghreb Union (AMU), which remains one of Africa’s least integrated regions because of Algeria’s support for the Polisario separatist front claiming the independence of Morocco’s Sahara region.