AU Chief calls for urgent application of African CFTA

AU Chief calls for urgent application of African CFTA

AU Chief calls for urgent application of African CFTA

African leaders are expected to sign an agreement that will kick off the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) at an extraordinary summit of the African Union (AU) launched on Saturday.

Besides the agreement, which could make Africa the world's largest free trade zone, 43 nations signed the Kigali Declaration, while 27 countries agreed to ease mobility of people across the continent by signing the protocol on movement of people across Africa.

The Summit is expected to consider and conclude issues related to the AfCFTA and adopt the Agreement on the Establishment of the AfCFTA.

The launching ceremony began with a speech by President Kagame welcoming South African President Cyril Ramaphosa who was appearing at the AU as head of state for the first time.

The UN's Economic Commission for Africa reckons that eliminating import duties alone could see AfCFTA boosting intra-continental trade by 52.3%.

He said (AfCFTA) would open up the economy to foreign products, through the back door and expose the country's relatively disadvantaged productive sectors to unmanageable pressure.

Currently, African countries only do about 16 percent of their business with each other, the smallest amount of intra-regional trade compared to Latin America, Asia, North America and Europe.

Quartey said, however, this would not be a big problem since African leaders are committed to creating a single African market.

He added that states must ratify the deal.

Deep-freeze CONTINUES: Weather forecast shows Britain heading for more Arctic temperatures
For the rest of the week will see spells of rain and stregthening winds, although with temperatures recovering closer to average. It's an icy start for many this morning, with lying snow in many areas from the weekend's return of the Beast From The East .

Three regional groups on the continent-the Common Market for East and Southern Africa, the Eastern African Community and the Southern African Development Community-signed an agreement in June 2015 to create a trade bloc covering 26 countries as a precursor to the continental grouping.

Niger President was followed by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and the Chairman of the African Union.

Each of African countries has to do its part, she said.

Only 15% of African exports go to other African countries.

"The agreement says that 90 per cent of the tariff plan would be liberalised, leaving only 10 per cent to protect manufacturers, and that 10 per cent is too low".

But some of the continent's strongest and fastest-growing economies, including Ghana, Kenya and Ethiopia, signed the deal.

Faki believes that the African Continental Free Trade Area will also strengthen Africa's position in global trade.

It could create an African market of over 1.2 billion people with a GDP of 2.5 trillion USA dollars, the pan-African bloc said.

"Right now, also we're having improvements in terms of infrastructure", Ikiara said.

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