At today`s meeting, EU and SADC representatives made decisions that will ensure the effective functioning of all the institutions created by the EPA. The meeting will also focus on the important role that non-state actors should play in monitoring and assessing the impact of the agreement. On Wednesday, 22 October 2008, the CDAA joined the East and Southern Africa Common Market and the East African Community in forming the African Free Trade Area, including all members of each organization. The leaders of the three trading blocs agreed on the creation of a single free trade area, the African Free Trade Area, made up of 26 countries with an estimated GDP of $624 billion ($382.9 billion). It is hoped that the agreement on the African Free Trade Area will facilitate market access within the zone and solve the problems associated with the fact that several Member States belong to several groups.  The South African Development Community (SADC) is an intergovernmental organization based in Gaborone, Botswana. The aim is to promote socio-economic cooperation and integration, as well as political and security cooperation between sixteen southern African countries.  European Commission Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said: “Trade is a powerful development tool and I am very pleased that this development-oriented agreement is bearing fruit. We must now focus on putting into practice all the remaining aspects of the agreement, so that citizens and businesses on both sides can take full advantage of the opportunities offered by our partnership. Today`s decisions by the Joint Council are moving us in the right direction. Improved merchandise trade opportunities: The EPA guarantees access to the EU market without tariffs or quotas for Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini. South Africa enjoys new market access under the EU-South Africa Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA), which currently governs trade relations with the EU until October 2016 (when the EPA came into force on an interim basis, which lifted the trade component of the TDCA). The new access includes better trading conditions, particularly in agriculture and fishing, including wine, sugar, fish products, flowers and fruit preserves.
The EU will benefit from new valid access to the southern African customs union (whose products include wheat, barley, cheese, meat products and butter) and will have the security of a bilateral agreement with Mozambique, one of the region`s LDCs.