The full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement on January 1, 2021, is expected to see a reduction in customs duties within Africa, Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Wamkele Mene, has said.
According to him, the implementation of the agreement will also witness a reduction of unwanted trade barriers which will in turn be subsequently removed.
Speaking in an interaction with journalists in Accra last week, Wamkele Mene explained the AfCFTA agreement will see traders within Africa experience a much regulated and efficient trade regime backed and administered by law.
“When your goods transit borders, or as a service supplier your service crosses borders, you will now be subject to a new set of rules. There will be reduced tariffs on the goods themselves. There will be a new system for adjudicating on the disputes that arise from the trading and cross-border activities,” Meme explained.
“But, ultimately, in 15 years’ time when the transition period has ended, 90 percent of trade by all African countries that are parties to the agreement will be at zero duties. That is the ultimate objective,” he added.
Additionally, guidelines governing the operations of customs agencies in Africa would also be transformed to fall in line with the necessities of the pact, according to the secretary general.
Meanwhile, Wamkele Mene said he has tasked the diplomatic community from Africa Member States based in Accra to ensure their various trade councils assemble in Accra before the end of November, to finalize all deliberations needed for the full implementation of the AfCFTA in January 2021.
The AfCFTA Secretariat is now targeting January 2021 for the commencement of the implementation of the pan-African free trade agreement following its postponement due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The continental free-trade area would be the world’s largest economic free trade zone, adjudged by spatial size and population, and is expected to increase intra-African trade from the current 12 percent of total trade by African countries to 52 percent by 2023.