African nations urged to implement free trade area deal


The Ethiopian president has called on African nations to boost intra-African trade through the implementation of a recently constituted African Continental Free Trade Area.

On April 3, Gambia deposited its ratification instrument of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) becoming the 22nd member state of the AU to do so — the minimum number of countries required for the free trade regime to go into effect.

Under the AfCFTA, the countries committed to remove tariffs on 90% of goods, liberalize trade in services, and lift non-tariff barriers.

The agreement eyes creating a single African market of over a billion consumers with a total GDP of over $3 trillion — a figure that will make Africa the largest free trade area in the world.

“I urge African countries to commit to the effective implementation of the AfCFTA,” Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde told African officials, investors, industrialists and representatives of partner regional and international organizations that gather at the Mandela Hall to mark the African Industrialization Day.

According to her, there is an inter-dependence between industrialization and export development.

“Africa is increasingly becoming a destination for foreign investment,” she said, calling on Africa to make use of the opportunity of the institutional framework now put in place — the AfCFTA — to boost trade.

“The role of industrialization for regional integration is immense,” she said.
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