The effective implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is still on hold. However, it is supposed to be operational since 2021. It is in this context that a A new project to help eight countries operationalise the AfCFTA has just been launched by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF).
Eight African countries are involved in this project, which will support the implementation of more than 30 activities in the FTAA strategies. These are Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo, the ECA said in a statement issued on 10 March 2022.
Thus, by assisting in the implementation of priority actions formulated by the ECA, the project will contribute to creating an environment where “trade can be more efficient and inclusive in the eight beneficiary countries. In the long term, the project will build capacity in these countries through “jobs and other economic opportunities“, the commission said.
Vera Songwe, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the ECA, told the gathering that “this new project has the potential to increase regional trade levels from 18% to 25% within a decade. With proper implementation, it could also lead to a reduction of $10 billion in imports from outside the continent, while boosting agricultural and industrial exports to $45 billion (7%) and $21 billion (5%) per year. ”
In addition, the AfCFTA is a proposed free trade areaa being created across the African continent and aims to establish a common framework and set of standards across the continent to ensure cooperation, harmonisation and efficiency of trade.
Currently considered the largest free trade area after the World Trade Organisation (WTO), it will eliminate tariffs on 97% of tariff lines over a 13-year period, starting on 1st January 2021. Of the 54 states on the African continent, 41 states have already met all the conditions for its operationalisation.