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30 countries to begin trading under AfCFTA next year - Senior Advisor

30 countries to begin trading under AfCFTA next year - Senior Advisor

Ghanaweb | 22nd November 2023

By Ghanaweb

Thirty countries in Africa will begin trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) next year as part of measures to implement the Af­CFTA agreement, Senior Advisor to the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA, Peter Joy Serwornoo, has stated.

He said currently seven coun­tries have been trading under the AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative, a programme to help African countries to start trading under the trade pact.

Mr Serwornoo, who disclosed this in an interview with the Gha­naian Times on the sidelines of the Regional Forum on AfCFTA for Anglophone West and North Africa to discuss progress made in the implementation of the trade pact which opened in Accra on Monday, mentioned the seven countries as Ghana, Kenya, Tan­zania, Egypt, Cameroon, Rwanda and Mauritius.

The three-day programme, organised by Third World Net­work-Africa, was attended by representatives of civil society organisations, private sector operators, trade unions, women organisations, government offi­cials and policy institutions.

The objective of the pro­gramme is to share information and perspectives on AfCFTA, and fashion out an agenda for future engagement with civil society organisations.

Mr Serwornoo said the seven countries had received their cer­tificate of origin, and put in place their customs procedures.

He said Ghana last year exported ceramic tiles to Camer­oon, and Kenya exported tea to Ghana, saying, “This was to kick-start the process of implementa­tion of the AfCFTA agreement.”

He said trading under Af­CFTA was currently being pilot­ed, and full trading would begin next year.

“A lot more countries would come on board and trade next year,” Mr Serwornoo stat­ed.

Asked about the value of trade between the seven coun­tries, the Advisor to the Secre­tary-General of AfCFTA said, “It was too early to tell.”

He said the seven countries were trading in about 96 prod­ucts, including ceramic tiles, tea, air conditioners.

He said the AfCFTA agree­ment came into force in 2019, adding that the AfCFTA protocol received 44 signatures when the agreement was opened in Kigali in March 2018, and 30 coun­tries signed the Free Movement protocol.

The Senior Advisor to the Secretary-General of AfCFTA described the low signature to Free Movement of Goods as a challenge.

Mr Serwornoo urged member countries to sign the protocol on the Free Movement of Goods.

He said the Trade in Services protocol made provision for business people to move tempo­rarily to deliver a service.

Mr Serwornoo admitted that the implementation of the Af­CFTA was not going to be easy.

He said 54 of the 55 African countries had signed onto the AfCFTA agreement, and was left with Eritrea to do so, adding that 47 African countries were State Parties to the AfCFTA Agreement by virtue of their ratifications and deposit of their instruments of ratification.

He said countries such as Be­nin, Liberia, Libya, Somalia, Su­dan, South Sudan, Mozambique and Eritrea were yet to ratify the agreement.

 source: Ghanaweb