The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a vital imperative to drive Africa’s overall development momentum, the African Union (AU) said.
The statement was made by Chairperson of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, as part of the Africa Day celebration that started on Saturday.
The chairperson urged AU member countries and pan African institutions to strive towards the realization of Africa’s major development ambition, with particular emphasis on the continental free trade pact as a drive to Africa’s development.
“Agricultural productivity, local processing of raw materials, product diversification, training, the sustainable enhancement of human resources, the extension of the industrial fabric, a vast network of infrastructure and the exploitation of the energy potential of the continent remain our job creation opportunities for young people, women and general social well-being,” Faki said.
“The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) seeks to provide the most relevant answers possible to all these issues,” the chairperson added.
Faki also noted that the continental free trade pact, which will be officially launched at the upcoming AU Extraordinary Summit slated for July 7 in Niamey, capital of Niger, “will mark an important and decisive step on the road to African integration.”
Faki also said that the continental free trade agreement is a “process that will create a large market that is critical to increasing trade and investments on the continent.”
The AfCFTA, which was signed by 44 African countries when it was launched in Kigali, capital of Rwanda, in March 2018, aspires to create a tariff-free continent that can grow local businesses, boost intra-African trade, spur industrialization and create more jobs.
The continental free trade pact paves the way for accelerating the establishment of the Continental Customs Union and the African customs union, according to the AU.
The AfCFTA is regarded as the world’s largest free trade zone by the number of countries, covering more than 1.2 billion people, with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of 2.5 trillion U.S. dollars.
Once operational, the African free trade accord is also projected to boost the level of intra-Africa trade by more than 52 percent by the year 2020, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Enditem