African Continental Free Trade Agreement(AfCFA) Comes Into Effect

The African Heads of States and Governments pose during African Union (AU) Summit for the agreement to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area in Kigali, Rwanda, on March 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / STR

A free trade agreement called the African Continental Free Trade Agreement(AfCFA) becomes effective today onward. African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is a trade agreement between 44 African Union member states, to create a single market followed by free movement and a single-currency union. The AfCFTA was signed in Kigali, Rwanda on 21 March 2018. Intended to grow local businesses, boost intra-African trade, spur industrialization, and create more jobs.

Twenty-two member countries ratified the agreement to become effective. The deal will function as an umbrella to which protocols and annexes will be added. Kenya and Ghana were the first countries to deposit the ratification instruments on 10 May 2018 after ratification through their parliaments.

Parliament of Ethiopia approved ratification of the Agreement Establishing the AfCFTA, on March 21.

AfCFTA will be the largest trade zone in the world, increase intra-African trade by 52% by the year 2022, progressively remove tariffs on 90% of goods, liberalize services and tackle other barriers to intra-African trade, such as long delays at border posts.

AU in a statement said trade officials from the continent would meet again in the first week of June 2019 to finalize work on supporting instruments to facilitate the launch of the operational phase of the AfCFTA during heads of state and government summit.