Cameroon has joined the list of countries to formally ratify the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, one month to the commencement of trading, the African Union Commission’s (AUC) Trade Commissioner, Albert Muchanga, has announced.
“The Republic of Cameroon became the 33rd AfCFTA State Party following deposit of its instrument of ratification this 1st December 2020,” Ambassador Muchanga said on his Twitter feed.
Cameroon’s decision comes after Lesotho submitted its own instrument on 27th November, leaving just Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Seychelles, Tanzania and Zambia as the Commonwealth countries yet to ratify the treaty.
The AfCFTA agreement entered into force on 30th May 2019 after the treaty was ratified by 22 countries — the minimum number required under the treaty — out of the 54 that agreed to be members of the bloc.
Trading was earlier scheduled to start on 1st July this year, but it was postponed for six months owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The AfCFTA provides the opportunity for Africa to create the world’s largest free trade area with the potential to unite more than 1.2 billion people in a $2.5 trillion economic bloc and usher in a new era of development. It has the potential to generate a range of benefits through supporting trade creation, structural transformation, productive employment and poverty reduction.
The Economic Commission for Africa, through its African Trade Policy Centre, has been working with the AU to deepen Africa’s trade integration through the effective implementation of the agreement by supporting the AfCFTA ratification process through policy advocacy.
The ECA is also assisting the member-states to develop national strategies for the implementation of the AfCFTA in partnership with the AUC, International Trade Centre (ITC), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and a selection of independent trade experts.
Learn More: UNECA