In 2012, AU member states had previously agreed to introduce a Continental Free Trade Area and gave themselves 5 years to achieve this goal. But it wasn`t until February 2016, less than a year after the original deadline, that negotiations began in earnest. Eritrea did not sign due to tensions with Ethiopia, but following the 2018 Eritrea-Ethiopia summit, the AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry now expects Eritrea to sign the agreement. [93] Maryla Maliszewska – lead author, is a Senior Economist in the Trade and Regional Integration Unit (ETIRI) of the World Bank. His area of expertise covers various aspects of trade policy and regional integration, with a particular focus on the impact of trade on poverty and income distribution. After the Kigali summit, more signatures were added to the AfCFTA. At the African Union Summit on 1. In July 2018, in Nouakchott, five other countries joined the agreement, including South Africa. Kenya and Ghana were the first countries to ratify the agreement and deposit their ratifications on 10 May 2018. [2] Of the signatories, 22 had to ratify the agreement for it to enter into force, and this happened on April 29, 2019, when Sierra Leone and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic ratified the agreement.

[7] As a result, the agreement entered into force 30 days later, on 30 May 2019; At that time, only Benin, Nigeria and Eritrea had not yet signed. Outstanding issues such as trade agreements and rules of origin are still under negotiation. [When?] The new year has begun trading under the continent-wide free trade area, the AfCFTA. But what does the new trade zone mean for existing bureaucracy, poor infrastructure, tariffs and free movement throughout the region? Intra-African exports accounted for 16.6% of total exports in 2017, compared to 68.1% in Europe, 59.4% in Asia, 55% in America and 7% in Oceania, according to UNCTAD. Intra-African trade, defined as the average of intra-African exports and imports, was about 2% over the period 2015-17. Africa`s share of exports to the rest of the world ranged from 80% to 90% in 2000-2017 – only Oceania had a greater dependence on exports from the rest of the world during this period. Mr. Mene has devoted a great deal of time and energy to overseeing a successful start to free trade. He was omnipresent in the capitals of African states, from Niamey in Niger to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, Lomé in Togo, Khartoum in Sudan and others, met with politicians and business leaders, youth and traders, touted the benefits of the AfCFTA, asked traders to seize the opportunity and highlighted solutions to emerging challenges. As of July 2019, 54 of the 55 African Union states had signed the agreement, with Eritrea being the only country not to sign it. Of these Member States, 27 have deposited their instruments of ratification.

[43] [44] Nigeria was one of the last countries to sign the agreement. With 200 million people, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and has about the population of the second and third most populous countries, Ethiopia and Egypt, combined, each with about 98 million people. With a nominal GDP of $376 billion, or about 17% of Africa`s GDP, it is just ahead of South Africa, which accounts for 16% of the African economy. Given that Nigeria is such an important country in terms of population and economy, its absence when the agreement was first signed was particularly striking. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa stressed this in a commentary on July 12, 2018, commenting: “The continent is waiting for Nigeria and South Africa. By negotiating with each other, we are able to conserve more resources on the continent. South Africa then signed the agreement. [52] The Kigali Summit identified areas where agreement could be reached on trade protocols, dispute settlement procedures, customs cooperation, trade facilitation and rules of origin. This was part of Phase I of the agreement, which concerns the liberalisation of goods and services.

It was also agreed to reduce tariffs to 90% of all goods. Each nation has the right to exclude 3% of goods from this agreement. [25] Guillermo Arenas is an economist in the World Bank`s Department of Trade and Regional Integration (ETIRI). .