Tuesday, August 9, 2022

African leaders finally launch world’s biggest free trade deal

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzihttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.
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African leaders on Sunday in Niger’s capital Niamey finally launched the much talked about continental free-trade zone.

It would be the world’s largest free trade area uniting 1.3 billion people and creating a $3.4 trillion economic bloc.

The free trade zone is considered a critical action to usher Africa into a new era of development.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) will have 54 African Union (AU) members.

African countries only do about 16 per cent of their business with each other with the African Union hoping to change this trend.

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The CFTA is a major project of the AU’s long-term development plan Agenda 2063, which emphasis the need to  ease trade and travel across the continent.

44 African leaders in March of 2018 signed onto the free trade area initially at a gathering in Rwanda with countries like Nigeria and Uganda missing out at the time.

But many of the countries have afterwards signed including Africa’s super power, Nigeria.

Lifting up Africa

The free trade area secretariat will be located in Ghana’s capital, Accra, after the country won the bid last week.

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Egyptian President and African Union Chairman Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said at the AU summit opening ceremony that “the eyes of the world are turned to Africa.”

He adds that AfCFTA “will reinforce our negotiating position on the international stage. It will represent an important step.”

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) should remove barriers to trade, like tariffs and import quotas, allowing the free flow of goods and services between its members.

Members countries have committed to eliminate tariffs on most goods. That will increase trade in the region by 15-25% in the medium term.

Trade in Africa
The CFTA should enable many African countries to trade more among themselves easily.

Objectives of the AfCFTA

  • 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 Continental Customs Union and the African customs union.
  • Expand intra African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation regimes and instruments across RECs and across Africa in general.
  • Resolve the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships and expedite the regional and continental integration processes.
  • Enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploiting opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources.



Source: Africafeeds.com

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