Fostering Intra-African Trade: African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)
By Chris Sevcik, Director of International Trade Services, WTCGP
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) now includes 54 of Africa’s 55 states and creates a $3.4 trillion economic zone of 1.3 billion people. The AfCFTA allows for free movement of investments, business travels and creates a customs union to attract long-term investments and streamline trade.
The goal of the AfCFTA is to increase international trade, but moreover expand intra-African trade. Currently much of African trade must flow from a domestic African country to Europe or the Middle East and then back to an African Country rather than directly moving within the continent. The challenges of transporting goods across boarders consumes an abundant amount of time and resources. One prominent businessman in Philadelphia commented that it is cheaper and faster to ship products from China to Philadelphia than it is to ship products from Nigeria to Sierra Leon.
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The signing of the Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by 44 African countries in Kigali, on March 21, 2018 inrush the enters the third step of the implementation of AEC and attests of a strong desire to deepen regional integration in Africa.
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