Africa Intercontinental Free Trade Agreement

The World Bank report, The African Continental Free Trade Area: Economic and Distributional Effects, aims to help policymakers implement policies that can maximize the potential benefits of the agreement while minimizing risks. Creating a continental market requires resolute efforts to reduce all business costs. Governments also need to develop strategies to increase the willingness of their workforce to take advantage of new opportunities. After the Kigali summit, more signatures were added for the AfCFTA. At the African Union summit in Nouakchott on 1 July 2018, five other nations, including South Africa, joined the agreement. Kenya and Ghana were the first nations to ratify the agreement and file their ratifications on 10 May 2018. [2] Of the signatories, 22 had to ratify the agreement in order for it to enter into force, and it happened on 29 April 2019, when Sierra Leone and the Arab Democratic Republic of the Sahara ratified the agreement. [7] As a result, the agreement came into force 30 days later on 30 May 2019; At that time, only Benin, Nigeria and Eritrea had not signed. Outstanding issues, such as trade agreements and rules of origin, are still being negotiated. [when?] The SAfCFTA secretariat is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the agreement and is an autonomous body within the AU system. Although it has an independent legal personality, it will work closely with the AU Commission and receive its AU budget.

The Council of Ministers responsible for trade will decide on the headquarters, structure, role and responsibilities. [35] The African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government is the highest decision-making body. It will probably meet during the AU summit. [39] The Council of Trade Ministers provides strategic trade oversight and ensures the effective implementation and implementation of the AfCFTA agreement. [39] Eritrea was not part of the original agreement because of the continuing state of war, but the 2018 peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea ended the conflict and ended the barrier to Eritrea`s participation in the free trade agreement. [10] [30] [45] [46] [47] The unrecognized state of Somaliland was not involved in discussions on the creation of the agreement. The implementation phase of the Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is expected to begin in less than three months. While the COVID 19 crisis has undoubtedly complicated the situation, the East African region is indeed well placed to implement the AfCFTA. Despite the skepticism expressed by some quarters about the ability of countries to launch the pioneering trade agreement, there is good reason to be optimistic. The reasons for this neglect of these neighbouring markets are quite clear and go beyond the usual considerations of low per capita income.

On the one hand, Ethiopia has a fairly protectionist customs policy, with high levels of tariffs in some sectors. However, members of the East African Community (EAC) such as Kenya (not Ethiopia) currently apply a high external tariff on imports of Ethiopian products, although both countries are members of the Common Market for East and South Africa (COMESA) regional grouping. This is because Ethiopia has not yet joined the comesa and, therefore, relatively high tariffs are still applied to bilateral trade. A similar problem concerns trade between Rwanda and Uganda with the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – all members of COMESA, but the Democratic Republic of Congo has not yet joined the free trade agreement.