US$5-million package to support AfCFTA implementation

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is in the process of putting together a package of US$5 million to support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

This announcement by AfDB director for regional development and regional integration, Moono Mupotolo, comes in the wake of the South African Parliament's ratification of the agreement establishing the AfCFTA earlier this week.

South Africa is expected to deposit the instrument of ratification during the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in February 2019 and Mutopolo believes the ratification threshold of 22 countries will be reached by March next year.

“This will mean the Free Trade Area will enter into force,” he said, adding that thereafter the challenge would be for the African Union and the AfDB to find ways of supporting the countries that do not have the capacity to implement some of the provisions of the AfCFTA.

According to the United Nations, it is estimated that AfCFTA will boost intra-Africa trade by 53% by eliminating import duties and non-tariff barriers. This agreement is potentially poised to create an African market of more than 1.2 billion people with an economy worth US$2.5 trillion.

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