Implementation of the AfCFTA

The ECA has been working on deepening Africa’s Trade integration through the effective implementation of the AfCFTA. 

Starting in 2019, the ECA has been:

  • Supporting the AfCFTA ratification process through policy advocacy. Ratification of the AfCFTA is critical. Efforts need to be deployed to support Member States in consensus building to secure the ratification of the Agreement while strengthening the AfCFTA marketplace.
  • Supporting African Union (AU) Member States to develop national strategies for the implementation of the AfCFTA. To strengthen their productive capacities and promote further integration into regional and global value chains in line with the AfCFTA and other trade agreements, with African countries and external trade partners. National strategies should also reflect the interests of young people and women who are at the heart of the African trading system.
  • Developing a methodological framework to produce an AfCFTA Country Business Index which will track the progress of the implementation of the AfCFTA. This will help better monitor and address several constraints (e.g. trade costs, various regulatory frameworks, governance issues, etc.) that undermine their effective operation.

ECA is working with our partners, including the African Union Commission (AUC), International Trade Centre (ITC), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and a selection of independent trade experts with the financial support of the European Union (EU) to support the implementation of the AfCFTA across the continent.

The African Continental Free Trade Area

The signature of the African Continental Free Trade Area by 54 African Union member States marked a historic milestone for economic integration. By 1 April 2019, only over a year after the signing ceremony, the threshold of 22 countries required for entry into force of the agreement had been reached. This fast reaching ratification process is unprecedented in AU history.

On 7 July 2019, the operational phase of the AfCFTA Agreement was formally launched and trading under the AfCFTA is due to begin by July 2020.

The scope of the AfCFTA Agreement covers trade in goods, trade in services, investment, intellectual property rights and competition policy.

The AfCFTA is a catalyst for boosting trade between African countries, supporting industrial development, creating business opportunities, generating jobs and helping to alleviate poverty. By number of participating countries, the AfCFTA is to be the biggest trade deal since the formation of the WTO.