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Rwanda Approves Continental Free Market

by Dan Ngabonziza
2:13 pm

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and AU chaiperson, Mahamaou Issoufou, President of Niger and Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission launch the one african market in Kigali-March 21

African citizens from across the continent will soon begin trading freely, acquire free residence as well as free movement in Rwanda.

A cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame has approved a Draft Law approving the ratification of the Protocol to the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community relating to free movement of persons, right of residence and right of establishment.

On March 21, 2018, Kigali witnessed a historical signing of African Continental Free Trade Area by 44 countries – an agreement that officially made Africa an open one single market for all Africans.

Moreover, 43 countries also signed the Kigali declaration while 27 countries signed the protocol of the free movement of people. All agreements considered however, 50 countries signed either of them.

At the cabinet meeting, a brief was delivered on the aftermath of March 23 agreement signature and the way forward.

The meeting also saw approval of a Draft Law on ratification of the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area together with the Protocol on trade in goods, Protocol on trade in services, and Protocol on rules and procedures for settlement of disputes.

If forwarded to Parliament for review, it means that Africans will effectively start moving freely to Rwanda and access all equal trade benefits.

Rwanda is not the only country heading towards final ratification of these pan African provisions.

On March 28 – six days after the signing of Kigali agreement, Kenyan cabinet approved the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The AfCFTA establishes a single liberalized market that will spur industrialization, infrastructural development, economic diversification and trade across the continent that is home to more than 1.2 billion people.

The pact also seeks to promote industrial development through diversification, regional value chain development, agricultural development and food security.

When fully implemented by all member States that signed, the treaty is expected to enable residents of all member countries to enjoy the convenience of a single passport and currency.

The trade deal also binds all State parties to eight objectives including the progressive elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade in goods.

The signatory State parties are also expected to progressively liberalize trade in services, among others.