Burundi signs African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement
Burundi was among the latest African countries that signed the
African Continental Free Trade Area>
Agreement on Sunday July 1.
Although full implementation of the AfCFTA will still take years, Burundi’s signing of the agreement is a significant step. Sierra Leone, Lesotho, South Africa and Namibia also signed the agreement on Sunday, 1 July, bringing the number of countries that have signed to 49.
The AfCFTA agreement will enter into force once ratified by 22 countries. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa estimates the AfCFTA has the potential to boost intra-Africa trade by 52% by eliminating or reducing tariffs, and to further double that figure through the elimination of non-tariff barriers.
This is a significant step towards increased intra-African trade and growth in regional value chains on the Continent.
The AfCFTA, if effectively implemented, will drive down the cost of trading goods and services within Africa. The AfCFTA will cover a market of 1.2 billion people, projected to reach 2.5 billion by 2050, and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than US$3.4 trillion.
The objectives of the AfCFTA include the creation of a single market for goods, services, and movement of persons in order to deepen the economic integration of the African Continent.
The agreement includes undertakings by Member States to: progressively eliminate tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade in goods; progressively liberalise trade in services; cooperate on investment, intellectual property rights, competition policy, customs matters, and all other trade-related areas between Member States; and to establish a dispute settlement mechanism.