Seven nations have been chosen to begin trade in a trial phase of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), including Rwanda, Cameroun, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, and Tanzania.
According to the AfCFTA secretariat, the action aims to evaluate the environmental, legal, and trade policy foundation for intra-African trade.
On Monday in Accra, during the ninth meeting of the AfCFTA Council of Ministers, countries chosen to take part in the so-called AfCFTA Initiative on Guided Trade were announced.
36 people who exhibited an interest in trading during the pilot phase were chosen from that group. Each applicant had turned in their tariff schedule.
90% of tariff offers fell under category A, which includes goods that were liberalized in 2021, as per the AfCFTA procedures. Over 10 years, this will be diminished steadily.
Over 15 years, 7% are liberalized, whereas 3% of products are not exempt from taxes.
The initiative aims to show that the AfCFTA is in operation and convey a political message to nations that have not yet submitted their tentative schedules of tariff concessions following established mechanisms, according to the AfCFTA Secretariat.
According to officials, the project would identify the businesses, goods, customs procedures, and logistics systems necessary to permit commerce under the AfCFTA.
Antoine Kajangwe, director general of trade and investment at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, declared that starting in 2021, Rwanda will be able to access markets in the west and central Africa at favorable prices.
As a result, he said, Rwanda’s intra-African exports would rise, industrialization would be sped up by economies of scale, more people would be employed in profitable positions, and the country’s economy would undergo structural change.
There is a lot of potential for trade and investment in Western African nations, including Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, Chad, and Benin, according to Rwanda’s business sector.
The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) recently unveiled a comprehensive tool that gauges how simple or difficult it is to conduct business across African nations.
It is anticipated that, once the free-trade framework is operational, the AfCFTA Country Business Index (ACBI) would evaluate the perceived impact of the continental trade area on the private sector’s capacity to trade and invest across African borders.