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Chances of coming to life of the conceived African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) by the African Union Commission (AUC), may become a reality before the end of today, if the government of Burkina Faso will put paid to its pledge to be the 24th country to deposit its instrument of ratification with the AUC.
Recall that the AfCFTA Act provides that as soon as between 22 and 24 economies ratify, the scheme will come into full effect in the continent. Though two leading economies in the continent, both Nigeria and South Africa are yet to sign the document, due to manufacturing stakeholders’ differences, there are real chances that AfCFTA may come to effect without both economies.
In Nigeria, experts are still divided on the after effects of joining the bandwagon at a time, the manufacturing index remain in the red which they say, may drive dumping which can further kill the ailing sector.
There had been pressure on Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari to sign on for Nigeria, but he held the pressure by setting up an advisory committee on the matter to understudy the real implications of joining AfCFTA with the current nature of the economy.
Business Hilights recalls that ratified nations are made up smaller economies who may have nothing to lose if their industrial productivity is not so much squeezed.
On May 23, 2019, Zimbabwe became the 23rd African state to deposit its instrument of ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement with the African Union Commission (AUC).
As Africa business stakeholders await for Burkina Faso’s final push to deposit its instrument of ratification with the AUC tomorrow, indications are rife that come July in Niamey, Niger, the AfCFTA will come into full effect.
In his remarks at the opening of a two-day Stakeholder Dialogue on Continental Trade and Strengthening Implementation of the AfCFTA, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mr. Kwesi Quartey, the Vice Chair of the AUC, said Africa is on the brink of a great break through. He indicated that with the AfCFTA in operation, Africa with a population of 1.2 billion could have a GDP of $4.5 trillion.
The Dialogue is being held to among others, enhance stakeholder engagement on the implementation of the AfCFTA, build knowledge and expertise of all stakeholders on priority trade issues improve regular information flow on trade issues to key stakeholders, and suggest a framework for the establishment of the AfCFTA National Committees.
Participants at the Dialogue put together by the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA), agreed that the prospects for trade in Africa are great, but still need serious peace and security, and other factors including education to stand as expected.
Earlier in his submission, the Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the AUC, Mr Albert Muchanga, said as soon as actual market comes alive in July, trade in Africa will hit 52 per cent by 2023.
Checks revealed that currently, of the 55 States, 52 have signed the Agreement, the other three yet to sign are Nigeria, Benin and Eritrea, 24 countries have ratified the Agreement and 23 have deposited the instruments with the AUC and 20 countries are in the process of ratifying the Agreement.
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