Catherine Mwangi presents Kenya’s AfCTA documents to AU Commission chair Moussa Mahamat
Kenya yesterday became the second country after Ghana to submit legal instruments ratifying the Africa Continental Free Area Agreement to the Africa Union.
AU Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat received the documents from Ambassador Catherine Mwangi.
Today is indeed a historic day in the annals of the African Union. We
warmly welcome you and would like to thank you as the two first
countries who deposited the instrument of ratification of the Agreement
establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),
following the ratification of the Agreement by your Parliament. AU Chairman Moussa Said.
I congratulate both countries (Kenya and Ghana) for being the first AU
Member States to deposit their instruments of ratification with the
African Union Commission. Added
The speed with which your countries ratified the AfCFTA Agreement is
a testament to the commitment that you have always shown, not only
to Africa in general but also to the African Union.
Your leadership role also presages the role played by your respective
RECs in the African Union and therefore the AfCFTA. So this moment
should not be underestimated.
Your countries have led the way in signalling to the rest of the AU
Member States that the process of our integration is irreversible and will
benefit all citizens of Africa.
The two countries were among some 27 countries of the African Union’s Assembly, which ratified the agreement signed in Kigali, Rwanda on March 21, this year.
During the AU’s 10th Extraordinary Session, countries agreed that all member states should sign and ratify the AfCFTA agreement, which seeks to allow for free movement of goods and services throughout the continent.
According to the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will cover a market of 1.2 billion people and a gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion across all 55 member States of the African Union, making it the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization.
The protocol commits governments to remove tariffs on 90 percent of goods produced within the continent and phase out the rest over time.
It could create tens of thousands of jobs and significantly reduce unemployment among the continent’s youthful population.
“The population of Africa is projected to reach 2.5 billion by 2050 at which point it will comprise 26 percent of what is projected to be the world’s working age population, with an economy that is estimated to grow twice as rapidly as that of the developed world.
“With average tariffs of 6.1 percent, businesses currently face higher tariffs when they export within Africa than when they export outside it. AfCFTA will progressively eliminate tariffs on intra-African trade, making it easier for African businesses to trade within the continent and benefit from the growing African market,” the ATPC explained.
Many governments on the continent have expressed keenness. For example, the South African department of trade and industry has indicated it is “committed to a coordinated strategy to boost intra-Africa trade and to build an integrated market in Africa that will see a market of over a billion people with a GDP of approximately $2.6 trillion (£1.85trillion).”
Also, Kenya’s trade ministry has noted it will not only create a massive liberalised market, but will also “enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level, enhance value addition of products and exploit economies of scale and optimum utilization of resource”.