The Chairperson of the AUC Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, flanked by the African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry, His Excellency Albert Muchanga received two (2) deposits of instruments of ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement today.
The instruments were from H.E. Dr. Brima Patrick Kapuwa, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the African Union (representing the 21st member state to do so) and H.E. Lamin Baali Permanent Representative of the Saharawi Republic to the African Union ( representing the 22nd ratification).
The Chairperson hailed the two deposits as timely and significant steps towards removing the fragmentation of African economies and markets, a process that will create a large market that is critical to increasing trade and investments on the continent.
The two deposits meet the minimum threshold of ratifications required under Article 23 of the AfCFTA Agreement for it to enter into force thirty days after deposit of the twenty second deposit made by the Saharawi Republic. The AfCFTA Agreement will in this regard enter into force on 30th May, 2019.
All that is now left is for the African Union and African Ministers of Trade to finalize work on supporting instruments to facilitate the launch of the operational phase of the AfCFTA during an Extra-Ordinary heads of state and government summit on 7th July 2019.
The supporting instruments are: rules of origin; schedules of tariff concessions on trade in goods; online non-tariff barriers monitoring and elimination mechanism; digital payments and settlement platform; and, African Trade Observatory Portal.
The African Ministers of Trade are scheduled to meet in Kampala, Uganda in the first week of June this year to review work on these supporting instruments ahead of the ExtraOrdinary Summit on the AfCFTA.
The Chairperson also paid tribute to the Champion of the AfCFTA His Excellency Mr. Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger for his strong and sustained advocacy to have all African Union Member States sigh and ratify the AfCFTA Agreement.