Trade Agreement Secretariat

The overall objectives of the agreement are:[20] Ghana`s Minister of Trade and Industry Alan Kyerematen listed the benefits of a free trade area in Africa, including a 52% increase in intra-African trade by 2022, consolidation of currently fragmented markets, economies of scale, added value of Africa`s natural resources and economic diversification. The Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) [9] is a free trade area with 28 countries from 2018. [1] [10] [11] [12] It was created by the African Free Trade Agreement between 54 of the 55 african union nations. [13] The free trade area is the largest in the world, in terms of the number of participating countries since the creation of the World Trade Organization. [14] Accra, Ghana, is the secretariat of AFCFTA and was commissioned by Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo on 18 August 2020 in Accra and handed over to the AU. The African Continental Free Trade Area only came into force when 22 of the signatory countries ratified the agreement, which took place in April 2019, when The Gambia was the 22nd country to ratify it. [67] In August 2020, there are 54 signatories, of which at least 30 have ratified and 28 have tabled their ratification instruments. [69] [70] [71] The three countries that have ratified their ratifications but have not yet tabled are Cameroon, Angola and Somalia,[71] although Morocco is also ratified. [73] On 19 December 2006, in Bucharest, under the presidency of Romania, the Central European Free Trade Agreement was profoundly changed and its membership expanded to create the FTACE in 2006 – a modern and ambitious free trade agreement with six new parties in south-eastern Europe. At the summit, Benin and Nigeria signed the agreement, so Eritrea is the only African state not to be part of the agreement; Since then, Eritrea has applied to join the agreement. Gabon and Equatorial Guinea also tabled their ratifications at the summit.

At the time of launch, there were 27 states that had ratified the agreement. [45] [47] [48] [49] After the Kigali Summit, further signatures were affixed to the AfCFTA. At the African Union summit in Nouakchott on 1 July 2018, five other nations, including South Africa, joined the agreement. Kenya and Ghana were the first nations to ratify the agreement and file their ratifications on 10 May 2018. [2] Of the signatories, 22 had to ratify the agreement in order for it to enter into force, and it happened on 29 April 2019, when Sierra Leone and the Arab Democratic Republic of the Sahara ratified the agreement. [7] As a result, the agreement came into force 30 days later on 30 May 2019; At that time, only Benin, Nigeria and Eritrea had not signed. Outstanding issues, such as trade agreements and rules of origin, are still being negotiated. [when?] AfCFTA, the world`s largest free trade area, has the potential to transform the continent with its potential market of 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of about $3 trillion in the 54 AU member countries. Mahamat said the opening of the secretariat was an important step in the vision of Africa`s founders for continental integration. Ghana was chosen by African heads of state and government at a summit of AU heads of state in Niamey last July to host headquarters to launch the implementation phase of the agreement, which aims to boost regional trade between member states. Currently, 54 states have signed the AfCFTA and 28 of them have ratified it.

Ghana`s President Nana Akufo-Addo and AU Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat reaffirmed the importance of the body to the continent`s economic transformation programme at a ceremony to designate the permanent secretariat of the Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

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