Discussions

What does the Adoption of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement signify?

What does the Adoption of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement signify?

Trudi Hartzenberg and Gerhard Erasmus - 29 Mar 2018

Trudi Hartzenberg, tralac Executive Director, and Gerhard Erasmus, tralac Associate, discuss the significance of the launch of the AfCFTA

At the Extraordinary Summit of the African Union which convened in Kigali on 21 March, 44 of the 55 member states signed the text of a new African free trade agreement called the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The complete package of legal instruments includes a founding agreement, protocols on trade in goods and services, with annexes on trade-related rules and procedures, and a dispute settlement mechanism.

What does this development signal and what could change? A key objective of the AfCFTA is to boost intra-African trade. It is designed to do so by forging a single continental legal regime for all relevant trade disciplines. This will include lower tariffs, simplified rules of origin and customs procedures, regulations for trade in services and remedies available to affected private parties. This is a bold vison but vital for advancing Africa’s economic development and capacity also to integrate more effectively into the 21st century global economy.

There is still a lot of work to

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