President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is providing a market with 1.2billion population to manufactures, traders, and producers.
Mr. Akufo-Addo told the CBCNAfrica after he was named the African of the Year by Forbes Magazine that the AfCFTA has a firmly established political will backing it to succeed.
“This project, building a common market in Africa has been on the table for a very long time , talked about over and over. But suddenly the pollical will to bring it into being has been found on the continent and that is the important first step.
“It means we are now talking about the possibilities, the rules are still being made as we are going on, but trading has begun. We begun trading on the 1st of January.
“Considerable amount of of rules and regulations that need to be in place to make it function equitably for the nations on the continent are now in place.
“The implications are enormous. Suddenly, traders, producers manufacturers, exporters have a market of 1.2billion people as their target.”
The AfCFTA is a free trade area founded in 2018. Trading commenced on 1 January 2021.
It was created by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 African Union nations.
The free-trade area is the largest in the world in terms of the number of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organisation.
Accra, Ghana serves as the Secretariat of AfCFTA and was commissioned and handed over to the AU by the President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo on August 17, 2020 in Accra.
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 estimates that the agreement will boost intra-African trade by 52 percent by 2022.
The proposal was set to come into force 30 days 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 22nd deposit of instruments of ratification; the agreement went into force on May 30 and entered its operational phase following a summit on July 7, 2019.
The general objectives of the agreement are to: create a single market, deepening the economic integration of the continent, establish a liberalised market through multiple rounds of negotiations, aid the movement of capital and people, facilitating investment, move towards the establishment of a future continental customs union, achieve sustainable and inclusive socioeconomic development, gender equality and structural transformations within member states, enhance competitiveness of member states within Africa and in the global market, encourage industrial development through diversification and regional value chain development, agricultural development and food security, resolve challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships.