What Does The African Free Trade Agreement Mean

To date, all African countries have signed the AfCFTA agreement and 54 national governments have formally committed to the creation of AfCFTA, with the exception of Eritrea. The AfCFTA agreement has been ratified to date by 31 AU member states, in particular Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Egypt, eSwatini, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Saharawi Republic , Sao Tome – Principle, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, The Gambia, Togo, Uganda and Zimbabwe. While the AfCFTA came into force on 30 May 2019, the AU`s extraordinary afCFTA summit, held on 7 July 2019 in Niamey, launched the AfCFTA operational phase with the agreement that AfCFTA exchanges will begin on 1 July 2020 and has decided to assign the AfCFTA secretariat to Accra Ghana. Given that the Nigerian government continued to consult with local business groups in the second half of 2018, one of the main concerns was whether the agreement adequately prevented anti-competitive practices such as dumping. [59] At the close of 2018, former President Olusegun Obasanjo said the delay was “regrettable” and stressed the lack of trade in goods between African countries, the difficulties in getting from one African country to another, and the colonial legacy of these restrictions on Africa`s growth. [60] The government steering committee responsible for the consultation process is expected to release its report on the agreement in January 2019. [61] Special economic zones for which free trade and investment agreements take and strengthen provisions that provide the most intense examples of exploitation of workers, including women. As these areas are beyond the reach of domestic labour or environmental law, they tend to offer the worst working conditions: low wages, poor housing, poor sanitation, all of which produce a culture of violence against women. A number of African countries are home to special economic zones, industrial parks and investment corridors where derogations from legislation and rules are already very important for women12.12 It would be quite worrying if they were legitimized and further anchored by the next generation of free trade agreements, including afCFTA. Most AU member states have signed the agreement.

Benin, Botswana, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria and Zambia did not sign the agreement. [63] Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was particularly reluctant to join if it against Nigerian entrepreneurship and Nigerian industry. [64] On 7 July 2019, Nigeria and Benin pledged to sign free trade with Africa at the 12th Special Session of the Association`s Assembly on ACFTA; Eritrea is the only country among the 55 member states of the African Union that has not signed the agreement. [65] [66] [41] It is important to bear in mind that much of Africa`s trade is informal, both within and across borders.

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