African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a free trade area, outlined in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 African Union nations. AfCFTA is the largest in the world in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization.
The agreement was brokered by the African Union (AU) and was signed on by 44 of its 55 member states in Kigali, Rwanda on March 21, 2018. The agreement initially requires members to remove tariffs from 90% of goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) estimates that the agreement will boost intra-African trade by 52 percent by 2022.
Since the conclusion of the AfCFTA Agreement in March 2018, AU member States have continued to show interest in this continental project. To date, the Agreement has been signed by 54 out of 55 member States. The proposal was set to come into force after ratification by 22 of the signatory states.
On April 2, 2019, The Gambia became the 22nd state to ratify the agreement, and on April 29 the Saharawi Republic made the deposit of instruments of ratification; the agreement is currently into force since May 30th 2019 and was lauched for its operational phase following a summit on July 7, 2019.
From July 2019 more countries also ratified the agreement and others continue to engage toward the ratification. So far 26 countries that ratified the agreement are: Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Namibia, Niger, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Eswatini, Togo, Uganda, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and Zimbabwe