The Continental Free Trade Agreement
The agreement was negotiated by the African Union (AU) and signed by 44 of its 55 member states in Kigali, Rwanda, on March 21, 2018.   The agreement first obliges members to withdraw tariffs on 90% of goods in order to allow free access to goods, goods and services across the continent.  The UN Economic Commission for Africa estimates that the agreement will increase intra-African trade by 52% by 2022.  The proposal is expected to enter into force 30 days after ratification by 22 signatory states.  On 2 April 2019, The Gambia became the 22nd State to ratify the Convention and on 29 April, the Saharawi Republic deposited the 22nd instrument of ratification; The agreement entered into force on 30 May and entered its operational phase after a summit on 7 July 2019.  The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement will create the largest free trade area in the world in terms of the number of participating countries. The pact associates 1.3 billion people in 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) worth $3.4 trillion. It has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty, but harnessing its full potential will depend on the implementation of important policy reforms and trade facilitation measures. One of the great benefits of the AfCFTA for the region will be the unlocking of trade barriers between Kenya and Ethiopia, the two largest economies in East Africa. Despite previous efforts to deepen economic relations, the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries remains extremely low.
Indeed, total bilateral trade did not even reach $70 million in 2019, which represents only 0.5% of Ethiopia`s total exports and 0.09% of Kenya`s trade, mainly food, live animals and some industrial goods (Table 1). Israel Osorio Rodarte is an economist in the Trade and Regional Integration Department at the World Bank. He has more than 10 years of experience in international development, particularly in the areas of economic diversification, structural change and analysis of the distribution of trade and macroeconomic policies. Free download. Use adobe Acrobat Reader free to view this PDF file The sAfCFTA Secretariat is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the agreement and an autonomous body within the AU system. . . .