About the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a flagship project of Agenda 2063 of the African Union — Africa’s own development vision. It was approved by the 18th ordinary Session of Assembly of Heads of State and Government, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2012 which adopted the decision to establish a Continental Free Trade Area. This initiative whose immediate implementation would provide quick wins, impact on socio-economic development and enhance confidence and the commitment of Africans as the owners and drivers of Agenda 2063.
The AfCFTA aims at accelerating intra-African trade and boosting Africa’s trading position in the global market by strengthening Africa’s common voice and policy space in global trade negotiations.As at 5 February 2021, 36 countries have deposited their instruments of ratification., 36 countries have ratified the AfCFTA agreement.
The general objectives of the AfCFTA are to:
- Create a single market for goods, services, facilitated by movement of persons in order to deepen the economic integration of the African continent and in accordance with the Pan African Vision of “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa” enshrined in Agenda 2063;
- Create a liberalised market for goods and services through successive rounds of negotiations;
- Contribute to the movement of capital and natural persons and facilitate investments building on the initiatives and developments in the State Parties and RECs;
- Lay the foundation for the establishment of a Continental Customs Union at a later stage;
- Promote and attain sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development, gender equality and structural transformation of the State Parties;
- Enhance the competitiveness of the economies of State Parties within the continent and the global market;
- Promote industrial development through diversification and regional value chain development, agricultural development and food security; and
- Resolve the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships and expedite the regional and continental integration processes.