COMESA, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, is one of several economic and social communities in Africa which form part of the African Economic Community (AEC): Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and Southern African Development Community (SADC).
COMESA is a twenty member community which stretches from southern Africa up to the Mediterranean. Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe were originally part of a 'preferential trade agreement' created in December 1981. Egypt joined in 1999, Eritrea in 1994 (when it gained independence from Ethiopia), the Seychelles in 2001, Libya in 2005, and South Sudan in 2011 (when it became a separate state from Sudan).
Previous members of COMESA include Lesotho and Mozambique, both left in 1997, Tanzania, who left in 2000, Namibia, who left in 2004, and Angola, which was suspended from membership in 2007.
COMESA has its headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia.