Theme of The Year 2023: “Acceleration Of Afcfta Implementation”
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a flagship project of Agenda 2063 aimed at creating a single African market for goods and services facilitated by free movement persons, capital, investment to deepen economic integration, promote and attain sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development, gender equality, industrialization, agricultural development, food security, and structural transformation.
The AfCFTA is the world’s largest free trade area bringing together the 55 countries of the African Union (AU) and eight (8) Regional Economic Communities (RECs). The overall mandate of the AfCFTA is to create a single continental market with a population of about 1.3 billion people and a combined GDP of approximately US$ 3.4 trillion.
As part of its mandate, the AfCFTA is to eliminate trade barriers and boost intra-Africa trade. In particular, it is to advance trade in value-added production across all service sectors of the African Economy. The AfCFTA will contribute to establishing regional value chains in Africa, enabling investment and job creation. The practical implementation of the AfCFTA has the potential to foster industrialisation, job creation, and investment, thus enhancing the competitiveness of Africa in the medium to long term.
In March 2018, the 10th Extraordinary Session of the African Union Summit held in Kigali, Rwanda, adopted the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The AfCFTA Agreement came into force in May 2019. As of March 2023, 46 countries had ratified and deposited the instruments of ratifications with the African Union Commission. Mozambique has ratified the Agreement but is yet to deposit the instruments of ratification with the AU Commission. The following countries were yet to ratify the Agreement. Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Eritrea, Madagascar, Benin, Liberia, and Libya. Eritrea is yet to sign the Agreement.
The AfCFTA Secretariat headquartered in Accra, Ghana, is the administrative organ mandated to coordinate the implementation of the AfCFTA. The Secretariat is responsible for convening meetings, monitoring and evaluating the implementation process of the AfCFTA.
Trading under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement began on 1 January 2021. As at February 2022, eight countries representing the five regions of the continent - Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania and Tunisia – participated in the AfCFTA’s Guided Trade Initiative, which seeks to facilitate trade among interested AfCFTA state parties that have met the minimum requirements for trade, under the Agreement. This initiative supports matchmaking businesses and products for export and import between State Parties. The products earmarked to trade under the Initiative include: ceramic tiles; batteries, tea, coffee, processed meat products, corn starch, sugar, pasta, glucose syrup, dried fruits, and sisal fibre, amongst others, in line with the AfCFTA focus on value chain development.
In the year 2023, the AfCFTA Guided Trade shall also focus on Trade in Services in the five priority areas, ie. Tourism, transport, Business Services; Communication Services; Financial Services; Transport Services, and Tourism and Travel-related Services. The ultimate objective is to ensure that AfCFTA is truly operational and the gains from the initiative are improved implementation in order to achieve increased inter-regional and intra-Africa trade that would yield economic development for the betterment of the continent at large.
See more at Acceleration of AfCTA implementation