By Adedapo Adesanya
The African Union (AU) Commission for Trade and Industry said 28 of the 55 African Union member states have ratified and deposited the ratification of the African continental free trade area with the Union.
This was disclosed at the ongoing 33rd AU Summit at the organisation’s headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) kicked off on January 21 and will end February 10, 2020. It is themed Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.
The initiative of silencing the guns is a flagship project of Africa’s agenda 2063 and aims to achieve a conflict-free Africa, make peace a reality for all and rid the continent of wars, civil conflicts, gender-based violence, violent conflicts and preventing genocide.
In addition to the key discussions around Africa’s peace and security agenda, other headline issues to be discussed include, sustainable funding of Africa’s development agenda specifically addressing the scale of assessment and contributions to the AU’s budget; progress made in the implementation of Agenda 2063; operationalization of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA); African candidatures in the international system, the International Criminal Court, and Africa’s Digital Transformation Strategy.
According to AU’s Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Mr Muchanga Albert, on the AfCFTA, he said more countries are expected to deposit instruments of ratification during the summit, indicating that things are going in the right direction.
He further said that presently, the AU was working on establishing rules on the origin of product, non-tariff barrier monitoring and trade tariff reduction schedule to ensure the timely launch of trade on the continent.
In terms of numbers of participating countries, the AfCFTA will be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995.
The AfCFTA would increase the demand for Nigeria’s products and services on the continent, with a rise in the price of exports and improved margins for Nigerian producers.
However, the policy would also trigger a reduction in government revenue by 1.5 percent (equivalent to N131.6 billion) per annum due to the loss of revenue from import duties.
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