Forty-four countries Sign Historic African Union Free Trade Agreement


Wednesday, March 21, 2018 /04:28 PM / Africanews

Forty-four African countries have signed up to a historic trade agreement aimed at paving the way for a liberalized market for goods and services across the continent.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), an agreement cast in the mold of the European Union’s version was signed during the 10th Ordinary Session of African Union Heads of State summit held in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.

The AfCFTA gives birth to the world’s largest free trade area since the World Trade Organization which was formed in 1995. A total of nineteen presidents were present whiles a number of Prime Ministers and government representatives also signed for their respective countries.

Final Tally:
1. #AfCFTA : 44 countries

2. Kigali Declaration: 43 countries

3. Protocol on Free Movement of People: 27 countries

In remarks on Tuesday during deliberations, host and current African Union (A.U.) president, Paul Kagame said: “This agreement is about trade in goods and services. These are the kinds of complex products that drive high income economies.”

Under the theme: “Creating One African Market,” the initiative falls under the Agenda 2063 of the A.U. According to estimates, if all 55 members states of the AU ratify it, the agreement will bring together 1.2 billion people with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than 2 trillion US Dollars.

Countries and Signatories that have signed the #AfCFTA in Kigali

1.Niger – President Mahamadou Issoufou

2.Rwanda – President Paul Kagame

3.Tchad – President Idriss Déby

4.Angola – President João Lourenço

5.Central African Republic – President Faustin-Archange Touadéra

6. Comoros – President Azali Assoumani

7. The Republic of Congo – President Denis Sassou Nguesso

8. Djibouti – President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh

9. Ghana – President Nana Akufo-Addo

10. Gambia – President Adama Barrow

11. Gabon – President Ali Bongo Ondimba

12. Kenya – President Uhuru Kenyatta

13. Mozambique - Filipe Nyusi

14. Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic – President Mohamed Abdelaziz

15. Senegal - Prresident Macky Sall

16. South Africa – President Cyril Ramaphosa

17. Sudan – President Omar al-Bashir

18. Mauritania – President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz

19.Zimbabwe – President Emmerson Mnangagwa

20. Cote D'ivoire – Vice President Daniel Kablan Duncan

21.Seychelles –Vincent Meriton - Vice President

22. Algeria –Ahmed Ouyahia - Prime Minister

23.Equatorial Guinea – Francisco Pascual Obama Asue - Prime Minister

24.Lesotho –  Tom Thabane - Prime Minister

25. Morocco – Saadeddine Othmani - Prime Minister

26. Swaziland - Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, Prime Minister

27. Tanzania – Kassim Majaliwa, Prime Minister

28.Tunisia - Youssef Chahed, Prime Minister

29.Benin - Aurélien Agbénonci, Minister for Foreign Affairs

30. Burkina Faso - Alpha Barry, Minister for Foreign Affairs

31. Democratic Republic of Congo - Léonard Okitundu, Minister for Foreign Affairs

32. Guinea - Mamadi Touré, Foreign Affairs Minister

33. Liberia - Gbehzohngar Findley, Foreign Affairs Minister

34.Mali – Minister for Foreign Affairs

35. Somalia – Minister for Foreign Affairs

36. South Sudan – Minister for Foreign Affairs

37. Uganda – Sam Kutesa, Minister for Foreign Affairs

38. São Tomé and Príncipe – Cabinet Minister

39. Togo – Minister for Cooperation and Integration

40. Malawi – Emmanuel Fabiano, Foreign Affairs Minister

41. Cameroon – Finance Minister

42.Cape Verde –Tourism, Industry and Energy Minister

43. Libya – Mohamed Taha Siala, Minister of Foreign Affairs

44. Madagascar – Henry Rabary Njaka, Minister of Foreign Affairs

45. Zambia* – Joe Malanji, Minister of Foreign Affairs

46. Egypt – Tarek Kabil, Trade & Industry Minister

47. Mauritius – Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo, Foreign Affairs Minister

48. Ethiopia – Bekele Bulado, Trade Trade

49. Namibia* – Minister of Industrialization

50. Botswana* – Minister for Trade 

The failure to attend by Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari who leads Africa’s largest economy and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni had analysts worried. Ugandan Foreign Affairs minister attended and signed. Nigeria did not sign.

Analysts say Buhari may have caved under pressure from local labour unions and big corporations who have opposed the treaty saying it would harm the local economy

“If Nigeria does not join, it will have an impact definitely. Nigeria is 190 million population country, it’s a large economy. So we hope that Nigeria will not pull out of it.

“Nigeria had already been part of the process of building it, we think it’s just maybe one step back that they are taking to review,” Alpha Sy, an analyst said.

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