The AFCTA – lessons from the free trade area of the Americas
The proposed African Continental Free Trade Area should be, and could be, a hugely positive initiative
The proposed African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA), currently being negotiated by 55 African countries, is a positive inter-regional initiative, one that is intended by its architects to be the largest free trade zone in the world, with a population of approximately 1.2-billion and a combined GDP of $2.5-trillion. The effort to unite the economies of Africa into a single free-trade agreement began at the 18th ordinary session of the assembly of the African Union (AU) heads of state and government, held in January 2012 in Addis Ababa. The participants agreed to progressively eliminate barriers to trade, services, intellectual property and investment in the context of an ACFTA. Such a pact would build on existing sub-regional and bilateral arrangements and help create a more integrated market in the continent. Since its signing in March 2018, the agreement and its associated protocols and annexes have been open for country-level ratification. For the treaty to enter into force, ...
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