The AfCFTA is one of the main projects under Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, the African Union’s long-term development strategy to make the continent a global superpower.
The European Union Free Trade Area is to Europe what the AfCFTA is to Africa. In a nutshell, both organizations were created to promote economic cooperation inside their respective continents in order to lessen dependency on markets that were too far away from their home regions.
The main goal of the AfCFTA is to establish a single market for goods and services, facilitated by the free movement of people, in order to further the economic integration of the African continent and to realize the Pan-African Vision of “An integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Africa” as stated in Agenda 2063.
Here are five critical points to remember regarding this pro-African business program.
Promotion of free trade: Making trade tariff-free is one of the ways the AfCFTA intends to increase intracontinental trade with Africa. To promote increased trade between African states, one of the group’s key goals is to gradually remove tariffs and even non-tariff barriers to trade in goods inside Africa.
Institutional Framework: The AfCFTA would be administered through a hierarchical structure with the Assembly at the top, followed by the Council of Ministers, the Committee of Senior Trade Officials, and finally the Secretariat.
Hierarchy: The African Union’s top decision-making body is the Assembly. The Council of Ministers consists of the Ministers in charge of Trade or any other ministers, authorities, or representatives that the State Parties have properly appointed. Permanent or Principal Secretaries or other representatives chosen by each State Party make up the Committee of Senior Trade Officials. The structure and budget would also need to be approved by the Secretariat.
General exclusions: The AfCFTA agreement was crafted to ensure that nothing in it would compromise public morals, animal, plant, or human life or health, imports and exports of gold or silver, or the criminalization of prison labor, among other intricate restrictions detailed on the official agreement.
Protocol for security: The AfCFTA agreement expressly prohibits the direct or indirect transfer of fissionable materials, weapons, ammunition, and other tools of war, as well as other supplies for military establishments.
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