Over half African countries ratify continental free trade area agreement

EYEAFRICA TV: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Twenty eight of the 55 African Union (AU) member states have ratified and deposited the ratifications of the African continental free trade area (AfCFTA) with the AU, according to AU Commission for Trade and Industry during the 33rd AU summit held at its headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry Muchanga Albert said that more countries are expected to deposit instruments of ratifications during the summit, indicating that things are going in the right direction.

At present, the AU is working on establishing rules on the origin of product, non-tariff barrier monitoring and trade tariff reduction schedule to ensure the timely launch of trade on the continent.

“If we are generating a large economy of scale and of scope, it’s vital for us constructing large-scale and long-term investment. This will in turn accelerate the development across Africa,” he said.

The main objectives of the AfCFTA which was unveiled in March 2018 are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Customs Union.

It will also expand intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation and instruments across the RECs (regional economic communities) and across Africa in general.

African leaders officially launched the operational phase of AfCFTA in Niamey, capital city of Niger, on July 7, 2019. In terms of numbers of participating countries, the AfCFTA will be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization.

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