The Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement entered into force on 30 May 2019, having been ratified by 22 countries (the threshold requirement). At present, only three countries (Benin, Eritrea, and Nigeria) have not signed the agreement.
The agreement aims to provide for a reduction or elimination of customs tariffs on qualifying imports between member countries. However, unlike other free trade agreements, this one provides that the signatory countries have agreed to be bound by the agreement even though the text of the agreement has not yet been finalized. For instance, the “rules of origin” provisions under the agreement are still being negotiated (but reportedly these negotiations are at an advanced stage). Similarly, negotiations for reductions or elimination of customs duty on 90% of products are in process but not yet finalized.
The deadline for completion of the negotiations on the rules of origin and the tariff schedules setting out the preferential rates of duty for trade between member countries is January 2020.
Read a July 2019 report [PDF 794 KB] prepared by the KPMG member firms in Africa
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