President Ramaphosa deposits SA’s AfCFTA instrument of ratification
President Cyril Ramaphosa has handed over South Africa’s instrument of ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on the sidelines of the 32nd Ordinary Session of Assembly of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The development came after Parliament ratified the Agreement on the establishment of the AfCFTA in December. The Agreement will come into effect once 22 member states have deposited their instruments of ratification.
South Africa’s ratification, alongside that of Mauritania and the Republic of Congo, who also deposited their instruments of ratification during the AU Summit, brings the number of countries that have ratified (or approved ratification of) the AfCFTA Agreement to 18.
The AfCFTA was launched during an Extra-ordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government in Kigali, Rwanda in March 2018. South Africa signed the agreement in July 2018 in Nouakchott, Mauritania and has now handed in the instrument of ratification, a formal approval by Parliament of the AfCFTA, to H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
“We do so willingly having been mandated to do, becoming one of those African states who have now signed to become full participants of the [African Continental Free Trade Area]. We therefore deposit this instrument with great pride and joy,” President Ramaphosa said.
“This step demonstrates South Africa’s binding and unwavering commitment to the implementation of the AfCFTA, which will remove trading barriers, boost intra-Africa trade and build an integrated and diversified market, with a GDP of approximately 3.3 trillion USD,” a statement from the Presidency read.
President Ramaphosa said the AfCFTA not only opens up a market of 1.2 billion people but also offers great opportunity for the South African economy. “It creates opportunities for all of us as Africans.”
“It opens opportunities for economic development and infrastructure progress for all the other countries on the African continent. We are very pleased that the AU has seen it correct to move the continent in this direct so that all countries can progress economically and in other ways,” the President said.
President Ramaphosa thanked Faki Mahamat for his leadership and all the work that has been done to bring to existence this free trade area.
“As South Africa we will participate with great commitment and enthusiasm,” he said.