By a Letter No. 14/20, of 13 October 2020, Angola’s president ratified the 2018 Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
As of today, Most African countries have signed the agreement (with the exception of Eritrea),however about 19 countries have not ratified it yet. According to the World Bank, The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) presents a major opportunity for African countries to bring 30 million people out of extreme poverty and to raise the incomes of 68 million others who live on less than $5.50 per day.
The AfCFTA aims mainly to create a single market for goods, services, facilitated by movement of persons in order to deepen the economic integration of the African continent, and in particular, aims to create a liberalized market for goods and services through successive rounds of negotiations, progressively eliminating tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade in goods and in services
Negotiations were launched by the African Union Heads of State and Government in June 2015. By late 2017, the intensity of negotiations had escalated, culminating in the drafting of the agreement itself..
In pursuance of the objectives of the Agreement, Member States have entered into phase II negotiations, which have taken place in successive rounds with a view to reaching an agreement on intellectual property rights, investment, and competition policy.
The institutional framework for the implementation and administration of the AfCFTA consists of the Assembly, the Council of Ministers, the Committee of Senior Trade Officials and the Secretariat. The Assembly, as the highest decision-making organ of the African Union, is responsible for providing oversight and strategic guidance on the AfCFTA. The Council of Ministers consists of the Ministers responsible for Trade or such other ministers, authorities, or officials duly designated by the State Parties.
The Committee of Senior Trade Officials is responsible for enforcing the decisions of the Council of Ministers as may be directed.
The implementation of AfCFTA that was meant to have commenced in July 2020, was postponed to next year 2021. According the Secretary-General of AfCFTA Mr. Wamkele Mene: “Due to COVID 19, many borders of Africa remains closed, goods aren’t been transited under the AfCFTA, As of now the government across Africa are given the space to fight the pandemic, however, once the conditions allow it, we will resume our work in terms of the progress that we have made and work very hard to meet the date of trading January 1st, 2021”.