AU launches AFCFTA cam­paign

The East African - - NEWS - By VIC­TOR KIPROP Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent

THE AFRICAN Union has launched an ad­vo­cacy cam­paign to en­cour­age more coun­tries to rat­ify the African Con­ti­nen­tal Free Trade Area (AFCFTA), ahead of the Jan­uary 2019 dead­line to im­ple­ment the agree­ment.

A busi­ness guide de­vel­oped by the In­ter­na­tional Trade Cen­tre (ITC) was launched to help the pri­vate sec­tor and pol­i­cy­mak­ers bet­ter un­der­stand and nav­i­gate the agree­ment.

Al­bert Muchanga, the AU Com­mis­sioner of Trade and In­dus­try, said it was con­fi­dent of get­ting the 15 re­main­ing mem­ber states to rat­ify the agree­ment by De­cem­ber.

So far, Kenya, Rwanda, eswa­tini, Chad, Niger, Guinea and Ghana have rat­i­fied the AFCFTA, while three coun­tries — Egypt, Kenya and Uganda — have rat­i­fied the Com­mon Mar­ket for East­ern and Southern Africa (Comesa), Southern African Development Com­mu­nity (SADC) and the East African Com­mu­nity (EAC) Tri­par­tite Free Trade Area. At least 22 rat­i­fi­ca­tions are needed for the AFCFTA to en­ter into force and 14 are re­quired for the TFTA.

Comesa Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Chileshe Kap­wepwe said over­lap­ping ac­tiv­i­ties be­tween the TFTA and the AFCFTA needed to be har­monised. Ms Chip­wepwe, who is the chair of the TFTA Task Force, said closer co-or­di­na­tion be­tween the AU and the re­gional eco­nomic com­mu­ni­ties will be key to suc­cess­ful im­ple­men­ta­tion of both agree­ments.

“The nar­ra­tive of the re­gional eco­nomic com­mu­ni­ties be­ing the build­ing blocks of the ACFTA should be pro­moted to en­sure com­ple­men­tar­ity,” she said.

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