31 January 2018

African Free Trade Area Agreement to Be Signed in March

Addis Ababa — The African Union Assembly has announced her decision to hold an Extraordinary Summit to consider the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) Legal instruments and sign the Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area.

This was one of the top three key decisions that the 30th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Summit holding on the theme: 'Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa's Transformation' which ended on 29 January 2018, at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia adopted.

The Assembly will hold an Extraordinary Summit on 21 March 2018, preceded by an Extraordinary Session of the Executive Council on 19 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda, to consider the CFTA Legal instruments and sign the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area.

The AU requested the AU Commission to convene an Extraordinary session of the STC on Justice and Legal Affairs to consider the said instruments prior to the Summit.

The purpose of CFTA is to Create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Continental Customs Union and the African customs union, Expand intra African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation regimes and instruments across RECs and across Africa in general, Resolve the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships and expedite the regional and continental integration processes, Enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploiting opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources.

The Assembly also adopted a protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community relating to Free Movement of Persons, Rights of Residence and Right of Establishment and its Draft Implementation Roadmap.

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