A Pan African social movement, Afrocacy, has lauded the “successful commissioning” of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat building.
The ceremony, which took place, Monday, August 17, is purposed to administer the free trade agreement for creating a single market across 55 countries with a combined population of 1.2 billion and a total Gross Domestic Product of about US$2.5 trillion in Africa.
In a statement, Afrocacy said it “wishes to congratulate all the 55 member countries signed unto the AfCFTA agreement”.
The group, which has an aim of seeing a better Africa, expressed hope in “the swift implementation of this agreement” in “opening up business opportunities to strengthening our economies”.
It further urged the member states part of the agreement to “see the recent outbreak of COVID-19 for quickening the implementation of an agreement rather than seeing it as a stumbling block to delay the implementation which was expected this year”.
The African Continental Free Trade Area seeks to establish a single market for goods and services across 55 countries, allow the free movement of business travellers and investments, and create a continental customs union to streamline trade – and attract long-term investment.
With a combined market of over 1.2 billion people (which is expected to grow to 2.5 billion by 2050) and a GDP of $2.5 trillion, AfCFTA could potentially make Africa the largest free trade area in the world since the formation of the World Trade Organisation.
Following a report by Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, the date for the operationalization of the agreement has been moved to January 1, 2021, instead of the July 1 deadline due to the impact of COVID-19.