On May 23, 2019, Zimbabwe became the 23rd African state to deposit its instrument of ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement with the African Union Commission (AUC). 22 countries are required to fulfill that requirement to bring the African Continental Free Trade Area into effect.
On May 29, Burkina Faso will be the 24th country to deposit its instrument of ratification with the AUC and then the in July in Niamey, Niger, the AfCFTA will come into full effect.
Speaking at the opening of a two-day Stakeholder Dialogue on Continental Trade and Strengthening Implementation of the AfCFTA, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, organized by the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA), Mr. Kwesi Quartey, the Vice Chair of the AUC, said Africa is on the brink of a great break through. He indicated that with the AfCFTA in operation, Africa with a population of 1.2 billion could have a GDP of $4.5 trillion.
While stating that the prospects for trade in Africa are great, he pointed out that, it won’t happen without peace and security, and other factors including education.
On China, he said, “The rise of China has provided options for strategic partnerships for Africa.”
In his remarks, Albert Muchanga, the Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the AUC said when the actual market is launched in July, trade in Africa will 52 per cent by 2023.
So far, of the 55 States, 52 have signed the Agreement, the other three yet to sign are Nigeria, Benin and Eritrea, 24 countries have ratified the Agreement and 23 have deposited the instruments with the AUC and 20 countries are in the process of ratifying the Agreement.
Dr. Joseph Atta-Mensah of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) urged the involvement of women. “We can’t achieve the AfCFTA when we leave women out,” he said.
The Dialogue is being held to among others, enhance stakeholder engagement on the implementation of the AfCFTA, build knowledge and expertise of all stakeholders on priority trade issues improve regular information flow on trade issues to key stakeholders, and suggest a framework for the establishment of the AfCFTA National Committees.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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