Could the African continental free trade be launched in January 2021?

Economic governance
Tuesday, 07 July 2020 13:57
Could the African continental free trade be launched in January 2021?

(Togo First) - The African continental free trade area (AfCFTA) could be operational in January 2021, the Ecofin agency reported quoting Wamkele Mene, secretary-general of the organization. 

The AfCFTA should have been implemented earlier but was postponed, and even suspended, due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The next Assembly of African Heads of State - scheduled for January 2, 2021 - could be the right opportunity for the states that signed the AfCFTA agreement to launch the free trade area. Until then, the priority is to complete negotiations related to trade tariffs and other protocols falling under the agreement. 

The AfCFTA aims at deepening Africa’s economic integration and establishing a continental customs union. The agreement, if implemented, will give birth to the largest free trade area in the world, with a cumulative GDP of more than $3,400 billion and a potential customer market of 1.3 billion people. In its framework, member States will liberalize at least 97% of their tariff lines and 90% of their imports. 

In Togo, the ministry of trade has been working for some months now on a national strategy for the implementation of the AfCFTA. The country has identified local value chains that are likely to benefit most from the area and they are agriculture, phosphate processing, and cooking oil production.

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