Building capacity to help Africa trade better

AU targets 30 countries to ratify AfCTA by December


AU targets 30 countries to ratify AfCTA by December

AU targets 30 countries to ratify AfCTA by December
Photo credit: tralac

December 20 is the target to have at least 30 African countries to have ratified the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA), members of the Senate heard on Tuesday.

Updating the Senators on where Rwanda stands since it ratified the agreement in April, the Minister of Trade and Industry; Vincent Munyeshyaka said that though only 22 countries are required to sign before the agreement comes into force, the target is to have 30.

Rwanda is the current chair of the African Union.

“The threshold is normally 22 countries but we are targeting 30 by December. We know it’s ambitious but are hoping that by end of the July African Heads of State summit, we will have seen some improvements,” he said.

So far, just four countries – Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana and Niger, submitted their instruments of ratification to Treaty to the African Union Secretariat in Addis, Ethiopia.

If the 22-country threshold is met, it means the agreement, which intends to make Africa the largest trading bloc in the world, can get into force.

Munyeshyaka said that to achieve this, he was lobbying other Ministers of trade but there was also support from the African Union Commission and the AfCFTA both which had their lobbying campaigns.

He pointed out that all the concerned institutions were working tirelessly to create a continent that would be viewed as a global competitor on the world market.

“To do that, we have to prioritize some things such as the service sector, beating non-tariff barriers and open borders,” he said.

Several offices like foreign affairs, presidency and others were working tirelessly to see that annexes of the agreement and protocols were ready by July.

“We are working day and night on the annexes, regarding trade and goods, rules and protocols for conflict resolution and others and we are hoping that by July when the Heads of States meet in Mauritius, they can sign them off,” he said.

Fewer countries signed

Munyeshyaka explained to the Senators that bureaucracy and lack of proper collaboration continued to slow most governments’ determination to ratify the agreements.

“Just like us, they have processes that these agreements have to go through for scrutiny and approval. While some governments are keen to expedite the process, there is an issue of collaboration between their institutions and the process has been slowed down by that,” he said.

The Minister in the Office of the President, Judith Uwizeye, said that as of today, the country was working on harmonizing its laws with the agreements.

“We already started the process of harmonizing our laws with the articles in these agreements. Some that we have found contradictory are being tweaked so that we avoid any issues in future,” she said.

She particularly talked about the free movement instrument which she said had 37 articles in total.

“This particular instrument stipulates a non-segregative clause, the requirements for one to live in another country and what it takes to own assets in that country, among others,” she said.


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