15 January, 2021
Addis Ababa, 15 January 2021, ECA -- Malawi submitted its instrument of ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) treaty today, becoming the 35th member state to ratify the agreement, said the African Union Commission (AUC).
Ambassador Albert Muchanga, the AUC Trade and Industry Commissionerwho made the announcement, said more member states were on track to submit their own documents soon.
Trading started officially on 1 January, signaling the commencement of Africa’s journey to market integration, AfCFTA’s Secretary General Mr. Wamkele Mene said on 12. It was postponed by six months last year following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Following Malawi’s ratification, only 19 member states are left to comply. They are Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Morocco, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia.
The AfCFTA provides the opportunity for Africa to create the world's largest free trade area with the potential to unite more than 1.2 billion people in a $2.5 trillion economic bloc and usher in a new era of development. It has the potential to generate a range of benefits through supporting trade creation, structural transformation, productive employment and poverty reduction.
Only Eritrea out of the AU’s 55 countries is yet to sign the agreement.
Through its African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has been working with the African Union Commission (AUC) and member states to deepen Africa's trade integration and effectively implement the agreement through policy advocacy and national strategy development.
The ECA also works with the International Trade Centre (ITC), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and independent trade experts with the financial support of the European Union to assist with the implementation of the agreement.
Economic Commission for Africa
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