Zambia’s foreign ministry issued a communique on the 5th of February, announcing the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the deposit of the instruments and accession documents of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in Addis Ababa by Zambia’s Ambassador.
During a Press Briefing on the status of AfCFTA, Mr. Wamkele Mene the Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) announced that 35 countries have become State parties to the Agreement , making it the second fastest instrument to be ratified since the establishment of the African Union.
As of 1st January 2021, Africa started trading based on the negotiations that were agreed to over 5 years period. In fact, AfCFTA was meant to start trading in July 2020 but due to the pandemic, the start of trading was postponed from July 2020 to 1st January 2021.
The AfCFTA aims to create a single market for goods and services by removing tariffs from 90% of goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent, however, the launch of the Agreement have been perceived as rushed since a lot of African countries don’t have the custom infrastructure needed to operate under the AfCFTA.