African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is one of the flagship projects of the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want.
It is a high ambition trade agreement, with a comprehensive scope that includes critical areas of Africa’s economy, such as digital trade and investment protection, amongst other areas. By eliminating barriers to trade in Africa, the objective of the AfCFTA is to significantly boost intra-Africa trade, particularly trade in value-added production and trade across all sectors of Africa’s economy.
Key Provisions of the Agreement:
The AfCFTA is the world’s largest free trade area bringing together the 55 countries of the African Union (AU) and eight (8) Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to create a single market for the continent. The aim is to enable the free flow of goods and services across the continent and boost the trading position of Africa in the global market.
As part of its mandate, the AfCFTA is to eliminate trade barriers and boost intra-Africa trade. In particular, it is to advance trade in value-added production across all service sectors of the African Economy. The AfCFTA will contribute to establishing regional value chains in Africa, enabling investment and job creation. The practical implementation of the AfCFTA has the potential to foster industrialisation, job creation, and investment, thus enhancing the competitiveness of Africa in the medium to long term.
The AfCFTA entered into force on May 30, 2019, after 24 Member States deposited their Instruments of Ratification following a series of continuous continental engagements spanning since 2012. It was launched at the 12th Extraordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Niamey – Niger, in July 2019. The commencement of trading under the AfCFTA was in January 1, 2021.
- ratified by Republic of Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Kenya, Republic of Rwanda, Republic of Uganda, and the United Republic of Tanzania.
- signed by the Republic of South Sudan and the ratification process is underway.