Take advantage of AfCFTA – Mahama urges African countries

John Mahama

Former President John Dramani Mahama has urged all African countries to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to grow their economies.

Mr Mahama said these at a virtual forum on Thursday October 13 which was organized by the Abuja-based Gusau Institute on the Evolving Africa- China Agenda.

He stated that Senegal has built a special economic enclave to attract Chinese and other manufacturing companies.

Rwanda, Mauritius and South Africa areas all making steady progress in manufacturing and value addition, he added.

“We must advantage of AfCFTA, grow our values and get ready for increase international trade,” Mr Mahama stressed.

The AfCFTA is a free trade area founded in 2018, with trade commencing as of 1 January 2021. It was created by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 African Union nations.

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The free-trade area is the largest in the world in terms of the number of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization. Accra, Ghana serves as the Secretariat of AfCFTA and was commissioned and handed over to the AU by the President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo on August 17, 2020 in Accra.

The agreement was brokered by the African Union (AU) and was signed by 44 of its 55 member states in Kigali, Rwanda on March 21, 2018. The agreement initially requires members to remove tariffs from 90% of goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa estimates that the agreement will boost intra-African trade by 52 percent by 2022. The proposal was set to come into force 30 days after ratification by 22 of the signatory states.

On April 2, 2019, The Gambia became the 22nd state to ratify the agreement, and on April 29 the Saharawi Republic made the 22nd deposit of instruments of ratification; the agreement came into force on May 30 and entered its operational phase following a summit on July 7, 2019.

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The general objectives of the agreement are to create a single market, deepening the economic integration of the continent; establish a liberalised market through multiple rounds of negotiations; aid the movement of capital and people, facilitating investment; move towards the establishment of a future continental customs union; achieve sustainable and inclusive socioeconomic development, gender equality and structural transformations within member states; enhance competitiveness of member states within Africa and in the global market; encourage industrial development through diversification and regional value chain development, agricultural development and food security; resolve challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships.

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana



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