Five countries have signed African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), bringing the number of signed states to forty-nine.
The signing exercise took place on the sidelines of the 31st African Union Heads of States and Government summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania that took place July 1st to July 2nd.
At the summit, two countries, Chad and eSwatini (former Swaziland) deposited their instrument of ratification while Guinea announced they will deposit their instrument of ratification next week.
President Paul Kagame and the Chairperson of African Union (AU) congratulated the five new signatories which are Burundi, Lesotho, Namibia, Sierra Leone and South Africa.
“Congratulations to the new signatories of AfCFTA,” Kagame said.
Meanwhile 49 member states have signed the AfCFTA and six have ratified it.
“This is significant progress and more is underway. It therefore signifies great progress towards the Africa we want and building it in the manner we have chosen,” Kagame added.
He said that the summit had been very productive and tackled the issues of highest priority for the continent.
“The Africa we want is being built before our eyes piece by piece. Let’s keep it up and do even more and better going forward,” Kagame noted.
The AfCFTA agreement is expected to boost intra Africa trade by 53% through eliminating import duties and non-tariff barriers. The agreement is potentially poised to create an African market of more than 1.2 billion people with an economy worth $2.5 trillion.