Tanzania ratifies Africa free trade area agreement

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African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a roadmap for achieving inclusive and sustainable development across the continent, has been ratified by Tanzania’s parliament.

Tanzania joins roughly 42 of the 55 African Union (AU) states who have ratified the AfCFTA, which aims to raise intra-African trade by 52 percent by 2022 and abolish tariffs on 90% of commodities.

Tanzania’s Minister of Industry and Trade, Kitila Mkumbo, told parliament in Dodoma that the country did extensive research before ratifying the deal.

Tanzania, he noted, has already begun to reap the benefits of Africa’s large markets by trading with it.

According to Mkumbo, the AfCFTA is expected to strengthen the value chain for agricultural crops, stimulate production, and boost smallholder farmers engaged in the cultivation of sunflower, cotton, spices, cloves, and horticultural products, which covers a market of 1.2 billion people and 3.4 trillion dollars in combined GDP.

On March 21, 2018, 44 of the 55 AU countries signed the AfCFTA in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital.

Entry into force happens 30 days after the 22nd instrument of ratification is lodged with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) – the authorized depositary for the AfCFTA – according to Article 23 of the agreement establishing the AfCFTA.

The agreement entered into force on May 30, 2019 for the 24 countries that had deposited their instruments of ratification by this date.

The operational phase of the AfCFTA was launched during the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union on the AfCFTA in Niamey, Niger on July 7, 2019.

Trading under the AfCFTA Agreement began on Jan. 1, 2021.

As of Aug. 27, 2021, 38 countries had deposited their instruments of ratification (ordered by date).

The countries are Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Niger, Chad, Eswatini, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Namibia, Tunisia, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gambia, and South Africa.

Some others are, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Mauritania, Uganda, Senegal, Togo, Egypt, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Sierra Leone, and Zimbabwe.

Others are Burkina Faso, São Tomé and Príncipe, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Mauritius, Central African Republic, Angola, Lesotho, Nigeria, Malawi, Zambia, Algeria, and Burundi.

Parliamentary/Cabinet approval has been received for Seychelles. Somalia is pending.

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