Close to US$5-million windfall for AfCFTA

The African Development BankGroup  has signed a $4.8-million institutional support grant to the African Union (AU) for implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

This follows a meeting of African leaders in Niamey, Niger in early July to launch the implementation phase of the free trade area agreement after it became operational at the end of May this year. Some 54 states have signed the deal to date and are set to begin formal trading next July

In a statement AU commissioner for Trade and Industry, Albert Muchanga, commended the bank's “strong and consistent” support to ensure smooth implementation of the agreement.

He added that the grant would be used “judiciously” for the rollout of various protocols relating to the structure and mandate of the AfCFTA secretariat.

The AfCFTA agreement has the potential to create the largest free-trade area in the world - uniting 55 African countries with a combined gross domestic product of more than $2.5 trillion.

It is also expected to expand intra-African trade by up to US$35 billion per year, ease movement of goods, services and people across the continent's borders, and cut import tariffs by US$10 billion while boosting agriculture and industrial exports by 7% and 5% respectively.

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