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African Continental Free Trade Area to come into force next week after 22 countries ratify deal

26.05.2019
The quorum required for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to come into force has been completed, the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The African continent has taken a giant step towards the prosperity and sustainable development of its population as the required number of 22 countries, including Egypt, have ratified the AfCFTA agreement, the statement said.

The foreign ministry said that, according to statistics, when the AfCFTA agreement enters into force it will affect more than 1.2 billion people, with a total domestic product of about $3.4 trillion.

Moreover, when operational, the African Union (AU) says, the AfCFTA will be the largest free trade bloc in the world.

The latest two ratifications, Sierra Leone and the Saharawi Republic, were received by the AU on 29 April.

With 22 ratifications, the agreement will enter into force in 30 days, on 30 May.

The AU and African ministers of trade will finalise work on supporting instruments to facilitate the launch of the operational phase of the AfCFTA during an extraordinary heads of state and government summit scheduled to take place in Niamey on 7 July.

According to the AU, the supporting instruments are: the rules of origin; the schedules of tariff concessions on trade in goods; the online non-tariff barriers monitoring and elimination mechanism; the digital payments and settlement platform; and the African Trade Observatory Portal.

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is chairing the African Union this year.

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