- The take-off of the Africa Free Trade Zone (AFCFTA), which has been called the world’s largest free trade zone, has been postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- The senior zone official’s announcement revealed that the implementation of an African Free Trade Agreement will not commence on July 1, 2020, as previously scheduled due to coronavirus outbreak.
- If successful, the 55 national continental free-trade zone would create an economic bloc of $3.4 trillion with 1.3 billion people across Africa
The take-off of the Africa Free Trade Zone (AFCFTA), which has been called the world’s largest free trade zone, has been postponed.
According to a senior zone official’s announcement, implementation of an African Free Trade Agreement will not commence on July 1, 2020, as previously scheduled due to coronavirus outbreak disruptions.
The Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area, Wankele Mene, said: “The Covid-19 situation has caused a major disruption…Governments are now engaged in a fight against the pandemic.
“It is obviously not possible to commence trade as we had intended on July 1 under the current circumstances.”
Remember that President Muhammadu Buhari signed the landmark African Free Trade Zone Agreement (AFCFTA) in July 2019, after delays and consultations with various stakeholders. The country’s decision to sign the agreement, which is Africa’s biggest economy, has been a huge boost to the deal.
If successful, the 55 national continental free trade zone would create an economic bloc of $3.4 trillion with 1.3 billion people across Africa and constitute the largest new trading bloc since the establishment of the World Trade Organization in 1994.
Although the agreement is already legally in force, several details need to be ironed out as part of the first phase of the process in order to become a reality, the July deadline for the commencement of trade in goods and services under the new tariff.
Due to restrictions and lockdowns as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the African Union could not have its earlier scheduled meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa in May to finalize the agreement. However, Mene said the assembly would announce a new date for enforcing the treaty.
Free trade deals are structured to cut member countries’ trade barriers, help make exports from one country cheaper, and promote access to other markets. They abolish border taxes or barriers to trade, get rid of limits and there will be no cap to the number of exports you can do, and so forth. Typically such tariffs are in tax form.
Global consulting firm PwC recently announced Mohammed Kande, its international advisory h…