Tuesday 02 Jul 2019

Africa: 'With the Continental Free Trade Area, We Are Creating Our Own Future'

INTERVIEW By Juanita Williams in Moscow — allAfrica sat down with Ambassador Albert M. Muchanga, African Union Commissioner for the Department of Trade and Industry, while at the Afreximbank meetings in Russia. Muchanga speaks on the progress of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the perception that the reality on the ground may hold up the implementation of the trade deal and how Africa will no longer hold a "begging bowl"...
Right now we have 52 countries that have signed the agreement (AfCFTA). The only countries that have not signed the agreement are three - these are Nigeria, Benin and Eritrea. And for Nigeria and Benin, they have been assured me that very soon they are going to sign. So, it is possible that by the time we meet on the 7th of July, maybe Nigeria and Benin would have signed, so we are moving very well regarding signing.
We have 24 countries that have ratified so far. Two above the minimum that are required and the states are very active in about 15 to 20 countries who also ratified. Over time we are going to see a number of countries coming on board to ratify. With regards to my own country Zambia the minister of trade informed me about 10 days ago that Zambia is going to ratify by August this year.
When we meet on the 7th of July for the launch of the operation affairs, the heads of states of the African Continental Free Trade Area will decide the actual start of trading. It is likely to start within six months or within a year and this is necessary in order to sensitize the local business people, as well as to prepare the necessary documentation and distribute all the documentation across Africa.