The AfCFTA design will determine how it will function and evolve
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is anchored in legal instruments concluded by sovereign states. For trade in goods the AfCFTA establishes, through its Protocol on Trade in Goods, a new Free Trade Area (FTA), not a Customs Union (CU). All 55 African Union (AU) Member States are expected to become AfCFTA State Parties, after they have ratified the AfCFTA Agreement or have acceded to it. Forty-four have already done so.
A pilot AfCFTA project, the Guided Trade Initiative (GTI), was launched in October 2022. Eight African States have signed up for this initiative, which allows for preferential trade in a limited number of products. However, this is not yet what the AfCFTA envisages. The Guided Trade Initiative is an interim trial run. It would be much better if the whole scheme of things is put in place in order for the benefits.
This Trade Report discusses the process in terms of which the outstanding tariff schedules and RoO of the AfCFTA are being negotiated and how this arrangement can be expected to function. Where necessary, provisions in the AfCFTA Protocol on Trade in Goods and its Annexes will be mentioned.
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