The African Union (AU) has recently reached a significant agreement that will impact the future of the continent. The agreement, known as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), was signed by 44 African countries in March 2018 and officially launched in July 2019.
The AfCFTA aims to create a single market for goods and services across the African continent, with the goal of increasing intra-African trade and boosting economic growth. It is expected to create a market of over 1.2 billion people, with a combined GDP of over $2.5 trillion.
The agreement will eliminate tariffs on 90% of goods traded between African countries, with the remaining 10% to be phased out over the next 5-10 years. The AfCFTA also includes provisions for the creation of a dispute resolution mechanism and measures to protect vulnerable industries. It is expected to create new jobs, promote industrialization, and attract foreign investment to the continent.
The implementation of the AfCFTA has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is set to resume in January 2021. Some challenges remain, such as the need for infrastructure development and addressing non-tariff barriers to trade. However, the AfCFTA represents a significant step towards economic integration and increased cooperation in Africa.
The African Union has also made progress in other areas recently. In August 2019, the AU launched the operational phase of the African Continental Free Trade Area Digital Payment System (AfCFTA-DPS). The system will facilitate payments between businesses and consumers across Africa, making it easier to conduct cross-border transactions.
In addition, the AU has taken steps to address the issue of violence against women. In February 2020, the AU launched the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN), which aims to promote the leadership of women and develop strategies to address gender-based violence and discrimination.
Overall, the recent agreements and initiatives by the African Union demonstrate a commitment to promoting economic growth and social development in Africa. The AfCFTA in particular has the potential to transform the continent and create new opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs. As the implementation of the AfCFTA continues, it will be important for countries to work together to address challenges and ensure its success.