The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a free trade area, established by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, that aims to create a single market for goods and services among the member countries of the African Union (AU). The agreement was signed in March 2018 and came into effect on January 1, 2021.

The AfCFTA covers 54 African countries with a combined population of over 1.2 billion people and a total GDP of more than $3 trillion. The agreement seeks to eliminate tariffs on goods and services traded among member countries, and to reduce non-tariff barriers such as customs delays, excessive paperwork, and corruption.

It’s officially started in January 2021. In the past year, several aspects of the trade pact are being successfully implemented as negotiations are ongoing in other areas.  According to the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat Mr. Wamkele Mene, the process reached several important milestones. He mentioned that 39 state countries ratified the agreement. Over 6000 products have reached to agreement and ready for trade. The AfCFTA also prepared the Protocol on Dispute Settlement. “We’ve made progress, but of course, much remains to be done” Wamkele stated.

The benefits of the AfCFTA are expected to be significant, including increased trade and investment, job creation, and economic growth. However, the agreement also faces several challenges, such as inadequate infrastructure, weak regulatory frameworks, and political instability in some member countries. Addressing these challenges will be critical for the successful implementation of the AfCFTA and for unlocking the full potential of Africa's economic integration.


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