Economic Development in Africa Report 2019

Made in Africa – Rules of Origin for Enhanced Intra-African Trade

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The advent of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) represents a historic opportunity for the continent to boost intra-African trade and accelerate structural transformation. However, this relies on a critical policy instrument: the effective implementation of preferential trade liberalization among the AfCFTA members. Whether in practice African firms will utilize tariff preferences under the AfCFTA depends on a critical factor: rules of origin (RoO) and the net benefits of complying with them. The Economic Development in Africa Report 2019 argues for the adoption of flexible RoO and a strengthening of institutional capacities to ensure an impartial, transparent, predictable, consistent and neutral implementation of agreed RoO.

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Introduction-Made in africa: rules of origin for enhanced intra-african trade

On 21 March 2018 in Kigali, 44 member States of the African Union signed the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area. This was a major historical landmark for Africa, and it can arguably be a game changer for the continent’s economy. In signing the Agreement, African countries honoured the spirit of the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community, signed in 1991 in Abuja, and delivered on a 2012 African Union summit decision to fast-track the establishment of a continental free trade area by an indicative date of 2017. By creating a single African market for goods and services for 1.3 billion people, the African Continental Free Trade Area is a promise to fulfil the dream of the African Union’s Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want (2015). As such, it carries tremendous hope for decent job creation, poverty reduction and prosperity for the continent.

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