The African Union has challenged countries from North Africa to ratify the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA), which is short of 4 ratifications to be operationalised.
The spokesperson in the office of the AUC chairperson, Ebba Kalondo tweeted her optimism ‘to have a North African country among the historic 22 ratifications that will effectively bring the AfCFTA into force’.
The African Union has made progress since July last year, when only Rwanda, Kenya, Chad, Niger, eSwatini (Swaziland) and Ghana had ratified the agreement that would create the largest trade zone in the world.
Kalondo and the Albert Muchanga, the Commissioner for Trade and Industry at AUC have been tweeting updates on several countries as they ratify the agreement.
Moving with tremendous momentum towards ratification of #AfCFTA Agreement of the— Amb. Albert Muchanga (AmbMuchanga) January 11, 2019
_AfricanUnionThe Cabinet of #Djibouti has approved conveyance of AfCFTA Agreement to the National Assembly for ratification. Good and encouraging development. pic.twitter.com/KLQwhYxVMR
#AfCFTA:18 out of required 22 ratifications confirmed. Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Eswatini, Ghana,Guinea,Kenya,Mali,Mauritania, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa,Togo, Uganda lead the way.Only 4 left.Make sure yr country joins the pioneers !
— Ebba Kalondo (@EbbaKalondo) January 12, 2019
AU officials will be hoping to secure all 22 ratifications before the end of the 32nd African Union Summit in February.
Who has ratified?
While all the North African countries signed the Kigali Declaration enacting the AfCFTA, none of them are yet to ratify the agreement.
‘‘We look forward to have a North African country among the historic 22 ratifications that will effectively bring the AfCFTA into force,’‘ Kalondo said in a tweet.
From Southern Africa, Eswatini, Namibia and South Africa have ratified, while the AU has secured ratifications from Uganda, Kenya, Djibouti and Rwanda in East Africa.
In Central Africa, Chad and the Republic of Congo have ratified while West Africa has the most ratifications including from Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Togo and Sierra Leone.
Once in force AfCFTA aims to increase intra-African trade by 52% by the year 2022, remove tariffs on 90% of goods, liberalise services and tackle other barriers to intra-African trade, such as long delays at border posts.