AU Summit launches free continental trade area
Written by: George Kalisa
Wednesday, March 21st, 2018, 15:46
African leaders from about 44 countries have during the 10 Extraordinary Summit in the capital Kigali signed and launched the agreement establishing the African Continental Free trade Area (AfCFTA). The other two legal instruments are the protocol to the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community relating to free movement of persons, right of residence and right of establishment, and the Kigali Declaration.
Countries absent during the historic event are: Nigeria, Eritrea and Burundi
43 countries have signed Kigali Declaration, 44 countries have signed and ratified the AfCFTA. And 27 countries signed the protocol for movement of people.
About 20 Heads of State attended and witnessed the historic event when Africa finally said farewell to fragmented markets. President’s in attendance Mahamadou Issoufou (Niger) Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Idriss Déby (Chad), João Lourenço (Angola), Faustin-Archange Touadéra (Central African Republic), Azali Assoumani (Comoros), Denis Sassou Nguesso (The Republic of Congo), Ismaïl Omar Guelleh (Djibouti), Nana Akufo-Addo (Ghana), Adama Barrow (Gambia), Ali Bongo Ondimba (Gabon), Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Filipe Nyusi (Mozambique), Mohamed Abdelaziz (Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic), Macky Sall (Senegal), Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa), Omar al-Bashir (Sudan), Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz (Mauritania) and Emmerson Mnangagwa (Zimbabwe)
On the AfCFTA President Paul Kagame has said during the opening remarks that "At the same time, we will be in a better position to leverage our growing strength and unity to secure Africa’s rightful interests in the international arena(…) the advantages we gain by creating one African market will also benefit our trading partners around the world, and that is a good thing," the President said
Kagame said that AfCFTA will accelerate prosperity value addition for good and services made in Africa.
"The promise of free trade and free movement is prosperity for all Africans, because we are prioritising the production of value-added goods and services that are “Made in Africa” " said Kagame