On March 21, 2018, 44 African heads of state and government officials met in Kigali, Rwanda, to sign the framework to establish this initiative of the African Union.
The AfCFTA will come into effect 30 days after ratification by the parliaments of at least 22 countries. Each country has 120 days after signing the framework to ratify.
This will be one of the world’s largest free-trade areas in terms of the number of countries, covering more than 1.2 billion people and over $4 trillion in combined consumer and business spending if all 55 countries join. Here are four things you need to know about the AfCFTA.
1) What is the AfCFTA and how did it come about?
It creates a single continental market for goods and services as well as a customs union with free movement of capital and business travelers. The African Union agreed in January 2012 to develop the AfCFTA. It took eight rounds of negotiations, beginning in 2015 and lasting until December 2017, to reach agreement.