Celebrations are expected to fill up Niamey – the capital city of Niger to officially bring the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) into force, a historic milestone.
In March this year, African countries including top largest economies such as South Africa joined their fellow African Union member countries to sign the historic African Continental Free Trade Area.
The agreement, once into force, will create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus accelerate the establishment of the Continental Customs Union.
Sixteen countries have since ratified the agreement – the latest being Mauritania, and according to Rwanda’s State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Olivier Nduhungirehe, hope are high that July will come when the remaining six countries have ratified the agreement.
“Yes, I have hope that the remaining six countries will ratify the African Continental Free Trade Agreement by July this year. We have an African Union Summit in Niamey – Niger which will also celebrate the entry into force of this AfCFTA,” Minister Nduhungirehe told KT Press.
“I recall that President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger was a champion of this agreement. I would say it will be justice for him to celebrate the entry into force of the AfCFTA. We have now sixteen ratifications and the agreement specifies that there is a need of 22 ratifications that will get this agreement into force.
So we have really good hope because the trend of ratifications over the last few months was very encouraging,” Minister Nduhungirehe added.
The agreement is also expected to expand intra African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation regimes and instruments across Africa as well as resolve the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships and expedite the regional and continental integration processes, among others.
The AfCFTA will bring together fifty-four African countries with a combined population of more than one billion people and a combined gross domestic product of more than $3.4 trillion.