At their recent summit in July, African presidents reiterated their determination to launch the Continental Free-Trade Area (CFTA) by December. Modalities for negotiating goods and services have been agreed and adopted and a draft text for the CFTA Agreement has been put on the table for negotiation. Some believe the job is more or less done and two or three negotiation sessions are needed before the CFTA can be launched at the end of the year. The stakes are high. If it is not launched in 2017, Africa will be the laughing stock of the world for failing to meet the deadline that was set in 2012. There is a sense of pride and duty. The agreement must cover the essential elements — establishment, principles and objectives, nondiscrimination, tariff elimination, customs and trade facilitation, standards, transparency and notification, institutions, disputes and the usual final provisions. Outstanding work such as details of trade remedies can be continued afterwards. A good strategy fo...

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