The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement is a historic trade agreement signed by 54 countries in Africa, aimed at creating a single market for goods and services across the continent. The agreement is seen as a major step towards boosting economic growth, promoting intra-African trade, and increasing Africa`s competitiveness in the global market.
The AfCFTA agreement aims to establish a free trade area that will cover a market of over 1.2 billion people and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of over $2.5 trillion. This will make it the largest free trade area in the world in terms of the number of participating countries.
The agreement seeks to eliminate tariffs on 90% of goods traded among African countries, with the remaining 10% of goods being phased out over time. This will increase trade within the continent, encouraging African countries to trade more with each other and reduce their dependence on imports from outside the continent.
The AfCFTA agreement also includes provisions for the liberalization of trade in services, including finance, telecommunications, and transport. It seeks to create a level playing field for African businesses to compete in the global market with more developed economies.
Additionally, the agreement includes provisions for the protection of intellectual property rights, the promotion of e-commerce, and the establishment of a dispute resolution mechanism.
However, there are some concerns that the AfCFTA agreement may disproportionately benefit larger economies, leading to the marginalization of smaller countries. There are also concerns around the potential for the influx of cheap goods from more competitive economies, which could undermine the domestic industries of some countries.
Despite these concerns, the AfCFTA agreement is seen as a significant milestone in Africa`s economic development and integration efforts. The agreement is expected to boost intra-African trade, create jobs, and increase investment across the continent. As African countries work towards implementing the AfCFTA agreement, it is hoped that it will lead to greater economic growth and prosperity for the people of Africa.