African Continental Free Trade Area launched

African Continental Free Trade Area launched

Agency News

Niamey (Niger) July 7: Heads of State and Government of Africa met here on Sunday to launch the continental free trade area that would create a $3.4 trillion single market for goods and services with free movement of businesses and investments.

The launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) follows the coming into force of the trade area on May 30, after the deposit of the required minimum of 22 ratifications by member states of the African Union. Since then three more instruments of ratification have been deposited, bring the total number of countries that have ratified the AfCFTA to 25.

"Traders across Africa will be able to make use of preferential trading arrangements offered by the AfCFTA, with the understanding that the trade transactions are among the Member States that have deposited the instruments of ratification and those that conform to the provisions on rules of origin governing trade in the AfCFTA,” said the AU in a statement.

India has said it would negotiate a Free Trade Agreement with the AfCTA.

The leaders will decide on the location of the secretariat of the AfCFTA which will have the principal function of implementing the agreement.

Seven member states -- Egypt, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Madagascar and Senegal -- have submitted bids to host the secretariat. (UNI)