Assessing Regional Integration in Africa V

Towards an African Continental Free Trade Area

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This publication comes at a time of renewed enthusiasm for shortening the period of the vision of the Abuja Treaty. The publication’s overall objective is to provide analytical research that defines frameworks for African governments, the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities, towards accelerating the establishment of the African Common Market through: the speedy removal of all tariff and non-tariff barriers, obstacles to free movement of people, investments and factors of production in general across Africa, and through fast-tracking the creation of an African continental Free Trade Area.




Interregional coordination is growing. COMESA, EAC and SADC held their first Tripartite Summit in October 2008, where the Heads of State and Government of the three RECs agreed to establish a Free Trade Area (FTA). This Tripartite FTA brings together 26 African countries, with a combined population of 530 million people, and a total GDP of USD 630 billion, or more than half of the output of Africa’s economies. It has galvanized the interest of Africa’s policymakers towards a much broader Continental FTA. Accordingly, the African Union Ministers of Trade, at their 6th Ordinary Session in Kigali in November 2010, recommended fast-tracking the establishment of an African Continental Free Trade Area (C-FTA).


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