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The African Free Trade Agreement entered into force



On Thursday, the African continental free trade agreement came into force, with 24 out of 54 countries ratifying it.

The plan was signed at the African Union summit in Kigali in 2016 after four years of negotiations, with Burkina Faso as the last country to join.

The agreement aims to facilitate the free movement of goods and people across the continent.

Charles Kohouthu, head of the East African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says African countries that trade with each other will benefit the continent.

FILE - The African and Heads of State and Government set up an agreement to establish the African continental free trade zone in Kigali, Rwanda, 21 March 2018, at the African Union Summit

FILE – The African and Heads of State and Government set up an agreement to establish the African continental free trade zone in Kigali, Rwanda, 21 March 2018, at the African Union Summit

"The African continental free trade area, if we use this framework to increase or enhance trade in Africa, would mean adding value to our raw materials," he said. "These natural resources, which we have in abundance instead of exporting them raw, will use the demand on the continent so that we can process them in a way that our own users in Africa can use."

With imported goods flooding the African Asian market, some African countries are implementing mechanisms and laws to protect their farmers and industries.

"Our infrastructure is outward," said Fred Muhongsa, a professor of economics at the University of Makerere in Kampala. "We do not have transport routes, airports and air transport that connect Africa with Africa for trade purposes." "A lot of trade is looking outside Africa, outside Africa."

Also, African countries are seeking measures to block other goods, he added.

"We have a number of local laws that come against the free trade abroad, which will be detailed, we also have standards, most of the African countries have no common standard, so one country decides to use non-tariff measures, they have to decide and say that your standard is not good, so it will not go through that, "said Muhunza.

Thirty African nations have not yet signed the trade agreement on the continent. By July, signatories must find ways to work.


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