Africa set to agree $3 trillion trade bloc, without key economy

22 March, 2018, 01:54 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • African leaders are planning to set up what they say will be the world’s largest free trade area

The agreement is seen as the largest free trade area in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization.

President Muhammadu Buhari says he will not attend the Extraordinary African Union summit on free trade in Rwanda this week.

The leaders are expected to sign an agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area.

The Summit is expected to consider and conclude issues related to the AfCFTA and adopt the Agreement on the Establishment of the AfCFTA.

The signing comes at the end of the 10th Extraordinary Session of the African Union, which began on 17 March in Rwanda's capital, Kigali.

Contaminated meat products may have been exported to two West African countries and a dozen southern African ones, the United Nations health agency said. It will also liberalise trade in services and might in the future include free movement of people and a single currency.

The integration will raise Africa's potential through increasing intra-African trade, said Teddy Kaberuka, an economic analyst.

"If done well, automation can present important opportunities for African countries by improving labour productivity in manufacturing", she said.

However, the agreement will still have to be ratified at a national level, and is only due to come into force in 180 days.

The minister told journalists on the outcome of the cabinet meeting that the nation's Chief Negotiator and Director-General of the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations was the chairperson of the AU negotiating technical team.

'This outbreak is a wake up call for countries in the region to strengthen their national food safety and disease surveillance systems, ' said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

"As we launch the African Continental Free Trade Area, our belief is that Africa is stronger when Africans work together; rather than in a divided and isolated way".

"When the goods get into the African country, they can repackage them, change the label from Made in Europe to that of the African country".

It will progressively eliminate tariffs on intra-African trade, making it easier for African businesses to trade within the continent and cater to and benefit from the growing African market, said the AU.

If all 55 African Union members eventually sign up, it will create a bloc with a cumulative GDP of $2.5 trillion (2 trillion euros) and cover a market of 1.2 billion people.

But some of the continent's strongest and fastest-growing economies, including Ghana and Ethiopia, signed the deal.

"We must do so rapidly", she said.



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