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Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa



Call for Papers 2017 : COMESA-ACBF Capacity Building Project in Economic and Trade Policy Analysis and Research


Following the Eighteen African Union Summit of Heads of State and Governments’ meeting held on 23-30 January 2012 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, focusing on the theme of “Boosting Intra-Africa Trade”, the role of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) has become more pronounced in implementing the Abuja Treaty establishing the African Economic Community and the Constitutive Act of the African Union.

The RECs, as the building blocs of the African Union, have continued to individually pursue integration agenda both as a development and transformative strategy whose basis is free trade, customs unions and common markets within their respective jurisdictions.

In pursuit of this agenda landmark commitments have been made; key among them the decision by Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) to establish a single Free Trade Area (FTA). The Tripartite FTA launched on 10 June 2015 in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt covers 26 countries representing more than half of AU membership.

The launch of the Tripartite FTA has galvanized interest towards a much broader continental FTA. The AU Ministers of Trade in their Sixth Ordinary Session held on 29 October, 2010 in Kigali, Rwanda, in response to the progress made in the implementation of FTAs and Customs Union in various RECs, recommended the fast-tracking of the establishment of an African FTA. Consequently, negotiations are in the preliminary stages and the launch of the CFTA has an indicative date of 2017.

At the continental level, consolidation of all these individual efforts is expected to result to an African Common Market (ACM) and an African Economic Community (AEC) in which economic, fiscal and sectoral policies are continentally uniform. This should culminate into breaking down of tariff and non-tariff barriers thereby enhancing intra-African trade.

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), as one of the largest of the AU recognized RECs in Africa is playing a critical role in consolidating the regional markets. COMESA was established in 1994 to replace the Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern Africa (PTA) set up in 1981 within the framework of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Lagos Plan of Action and the First Act of Lagos. The COMESA regional bloc currently comprises of 19 Member States (Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe)

COMESA successfully established a Free Trade Area (FTA) in October 2000 with the key aim of facilitating regional integration through zero customs tariffs on goods traded among the member states. COMESA envisages to progress to a Common Market and eventually to a full Economic Community by 2025. COMESA’s regional integration agenda covers a range of issues from trade and monetary affairs, investment, agriculture, infrastructure, gender, climate change, standards, and security among other trade related issues.

Despite progress in the conclusion of various negotiations agenda, there remains slow implementation of agreed obligations by member states. This is partly due to prevailing capacity gaps in both the member states and the secretariat in rolling out the implementation. It is against this background that COMESA-ACBF capacity building programme in Economic and Trade Policy Research and Analysis was initiated to enhance the capacity of member states and the secretariat to undertake policy oriented research to foster evidence based policy decision making.

Objective of call for papers

The objective of this call is to seek for empirical and/or policy oriented research papers to address issues pertinent to the agenda of regional integration in COMESA in the context of boosting Intra-Africa trade.

Research Theme


The theme should be considered along any one of the following sub- thematic areas;
1. Market integration
2. Investments
3. The blue Economy
4. Industrialization
5. Economic Infrastructure

Proposed Structure

It is expected that each paper will cover among others the following aspects:
Title of the study (topical issues drawing from the sub-thematic areas in the context of Boosting Intra-African Trade with a COMESA perspective).
Background: The context of the research underlying the issues that necessitate investigation, existing gaps of knowledge that the research paper attempts to fill, stating clearly the problem/issue being investigated.
Objective(s): A clear statement of the specific research objective/s, the issues addressed or to be addressed. The Research questions or hypothesis that the paper attempts to answer.
Existing knowledge: a review of the relevant literature, and previous research on the issue under study including data, methodological approach, scope, parameters, and results among others. Also highlighting the existing policies on the research topic.
Methodology: a description of the research methodology including econometric and/or survey tools where applicable, a discussion of data requirements, sources, availability and data analysis tools and methods used and, where necessary, data collection strategy.
Results/Findings: a succinct discussion of the research findings and how they compare to findings of similar studies.
Policy Implications: a detailed discussion of the value added to existing knowledge, and the policy relevance, including emerging issues/areas for future research and policy debate.

NB: Policy research papers may not necessarily conform to the above structure.

Call for papers

COMESA now invites researchers to submit extended abstracts and full papers under the different research areas. The abstracts and papers will be reviewed and successful authors invited to make presentations at the Third COMESA Research Forum scheduled for July 2017 in Kigali – Rwanda. Select papers will be peer reviewed and published in COMESA’s flagship publication “Key Issues in Regional Integration Volume VI”


The successful paper authors will be facilitated during the Research Forum. The facilitation will include a return economy air ticket, accommodation and daily subsistence allowance.

Important Deadlines

Submission of draft full papers or extended abstracts: 15th March 2017
Notification for acceptance of papers or abstracts: 31st March 2017
Submission of final papers to COMESA Secretariat: 30th May 2017
The extended abstracts or draft full papers should be submitted in soft and word copies for ease of review and tracking of comments to the following email addresses fmangeni@comesa.int with a copy to bmusengele@comesa.int and lothieno@comesa.int before 1700 hours Central African Time on 15th March 2017.

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