African leaders sign landmark free trade agreement

Close to 50 African Union Member States have signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), marking what African Union leaders called a “historic moment in the life of the continent”.

African leaders gathered in Kigali in March for the 10th Extraordinary Summit of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government.

The agreement is seen as the biggest free trade agreement since the establishment of the World Trade Organisation.

The UN Economic Commission for Africa has estimated the agreement could increase intra-African trade by 52% by 2022.

Currently, trade between African nations accounts for around 10% of the continent’s total commerce.

The trade agreement will create a unified market of 1.2 billion and gross domestic product of over $2.5-trillion (R30-trillion).

AU Chairperson Paul Kagame said, “I wish to acknowledge all the leaders, past and present, involved in bringing us to this point. We are reaping the rewards, of their foresight.”

President Kagame said the historic signing of the AfCFTA will enhance the dignity and well-being of Africa’s farmers, workers, entrepreneurs, particularly women and youths, as it will create more jobs, bring more investments and prosperity for the continent with the view of prioritizing the production of value-added goods and services, that are “Made in Africa”.

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