List of Regional Blocs in Africa, Their Mandates, and Headquarters

African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a regional body that seeks to create the largest free trade area in the world.

List of Regional Blocs in Africa, Their Mandates, and Headquarters


1. Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)

    1. The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) is a regional block consisting of 16 countries.
    2. It was formed for the following mandate/objectives;
        1. Regional integration.
        2. Cultivating peace and security.
        3. Poverty eradication through economic development in Southern Africa.
    3. SADC headquarters are in Gaborone, Botswana.



Also read: List of All Monarchies Around the World 2023



2. Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)

    1. The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) was formed in 1994 to replace the Preferential Trade Area which had existed since 1981.
    2. COMESA was created with the objective of forming a free trade area where goods can move freely within the member countries.
    3. The idea was to form a large common market devoid of inter-state barriers as members develop their countries for the benefit of all.
    4. Its headquarters are at COMESA Center, Ben Bella Rd, Lusaka, Zambia.



3. East African Community (EAC)

    1. The East African Community (EAC) is the regional organization of the Republics of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and Rwanda.
    2. Its headquarters are in Arusha, Tanzania.
    3. The EAC aims at widening and deepening cooperation among the member states in political, economic, and social fields for their mutual benefit.
    4. EAC is also working towards the establishment of a common market and ultimately a Political Federation of the East African States.


Picture/Ministry of East African Community Affairs Uganda


4. Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)

    1. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) was created in 1996.
    2. IGAD was preceded by Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development which was founded in 1986.
    3. It was initially formed to deal with issues related to drought and desertification in the Horn of Africa.
    4. The mission of IGAD is to assist and complement the efforts of the Member States to achieve, through increased cooperation;
          1. Food security and environmental protection
          2. Peace and security
          3. Economic cooperation and integration in the region.
    5. IGAD headquarters are in Djibouti.



5. Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

    1. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was set up to foster the ideal of collective self-sufficiency for its member states.
    2. ECOWAS is designed to create a single, large trading bloc through economic cooperation.
    3. ECOWAS promotes the balanced development of the region, paying attention to the special problems of each Member State, particularly those landlocked and small islands.
    4. The removal of obstacles to the free movement of persons and goods.
    5. ECOWAS headquarters are in Abuja Nigeria.



6. African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

    1. African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a regional body that seeks to create the largest free trade area in the world.
    2. Headquartered in Accra Ghana, AfCFTA includes 55 African countries.
    3. AfCFTA seeks to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty by providing a limitless ready market for goods and commerce.


Also read: List of African Countries Not Members of AU



7. Economic Community of Central African States -ECCAS

    1. The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) was formed to bring peace and prosperity to Central Africa.
    2. ECCAS was founded on 18th October 1983 in Gabon.
    3. The Economic Community of Central African States headquarters are in Libreville Gabon.
    4. It has the mandate to mobilize resources to make Central Africa a region of peace, prosperity, and solidarity.
    5. ECCAS fosters the free movement of people to bring balanced development.



8. Arab Maghreb Union (UMA)

    1. The Union du Maghreb Arabe (AMU) is an alliance of Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and  Tunisia.
    2. The North African countries formed the alliance to coordinate and harmonize the development plans.
    3. UMA also seeks to foster interregional trade and relations with the EU because the Member States are close to Europe.
    4. Union du Maghreb Arabe (AMU) has its headquarters in Algiers Algeria.



9. Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) 

    1. The Community of Sahel-Saharan  States (CEN-SAD) was established in February 1998 in Tripoli in a summit convened by Colonel MUAMMAR AL KADDAFI, Leader of Libya.
    2. It consists of the following North and West African countries;
        1. Mali
        2. Chad
        3. Niger
        4. Sudan
        5. Burkina Faso
    3. Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) headquarters are in N’Djamena, Chad.
    4. The community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) has the following mandate;
          1. Foster the free movement of persons, capitals, and interests of nationals of Member States.
          2. Promote free trade and movement of goods, commodities, and services from Member States.
          3. Promotion of external trade through an investment policy in Member States.
          4. Harmonization of educational, scientific, and cultural systems of the various cycles of education in the Member States.



Also read: List of All SADC Member Countries






10. African Union

    1. The African Union is an umbrella organization that includes 55 countries on the African continent.
    2. The AU was founded as the Organization of African Unity in May 1963 in Addis Ababa, through a charter signed by 32 heads of state.
    3. The African Union then succeeded the OAU in 2002.
    4. The African Union has been discharging its mandate which includes;
        1. To achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and the peoples of Africa.
        2. To defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence of its Member States. 
        3. To accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent.
        4. To promote peace, security, and stability on the continent.
        5. To coordinate the existing and future Regional Economic Blocs for the gradual attainment of the objectives of the African Union.