Borderless Alliance, a private sector-led advocacy group that promotes regional economic integration and the free movement of goods and people in West Africa has urged more African countries to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement, a critical step which will pave way for participation in Africa’s most ambitious free trade agreement.
Trading officially commenced on January 1, 2021 after 54 of the 55 African Union nations adopted the agreement as a flagship project of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
AfCFTA creates a market of 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of $3 trillion making it the world’s largest free trade area in terms of participating member states after the formation of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The secretariat is located in Accra, Ghana.
As at 5 December 2020, 34 countries have deposited their instruments of AfCFTA ratification with the AUC Chairperson. There have also been indications that Somalia, Algeria and Zambia have received Cabinet approval for ratification; official confirmation is pending. However Borderless Alliance says the objects of AfCFTA could easily materialize if all parties expedite the ratification processes to join the trade.
National President of the Borderless Alliance, Ziad Hamoui in an interview with Harriet Nartey on Diplomatic Affairs program on Pan African Television, Saturday January 3, 2020 also urged countries to publicize the Schedule of tariff concessions which contains a list of negotiated specific tariff concessions and commitments by each State Party setting out, transparently, the terms, conditions and qualifications under which goods may be imported under the AfCFTA.
So far 41 of the zone’s 54 member states have submitted tariff reduction schedules.
Members according to the free trade agreement must phase out 90 percent of tariff lines – over five years for more advanced economies or 10 years for less developed nations. Another 7 percent considered sensitive will get more time, while 3 percent will be allowed to be placed on an exclusion list.