We are committed to delivering on the promises made in the 2018 State of the Nation Address. There is still much work to be done, but we have made important progress. Last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged to work towards increased trade and investment across the African continent. On Day 137 post-SONA, we took a crucial step towards that goal.
Negotiations towards the Continental Free Trade Agreement are progressing at a brisk pace, and it is expected that the framework agreement could be concluded soon.
South Africa signs the agreement to establish an African Continental Free Trade Area, which will create a market of over 1 billion people.
President Ramaphosa signed the AfCFTA agreement on behalf of South Africa at an African Union summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania in July 2018. Parliament ratified the agreement in December.
President #Ramaphosa: We have reached agreement on the establishment of an African Continental Free Trade Area, which will fundamentally transform African economies, giving rise to a new industrial age on the continent. #UNGA— PresidencyZA (@PresidencyZA) September 25, 2018
Objectives of the CFTA:
- Create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Continental Customs Union and the African customs union.
- Expand intra African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation regimes and instruments across RECs and across Africa in general.
- Resolve the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships and expedite the regional and continental integration processes.
- Enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploiting opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources.
Credit: African Union
This is a free trade area that has never been seen in the world. It’s going to be the largest integrated market on the African continent, which is a clear demonstration that indeed Africa is not only on the rise but Africa is on the move.
As the largest free trade area since the establishment of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), AfCFTA has the potential to boost intra-African trade by 52.3% through the elimination of import duties, and by over 100% through the elimination of non-tariff barriers.