ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia
(Xinhua) -- The UN Economic Commission
for Africa (ECA) on Monday said that the African Continental
Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement is one of Africa’s milestone
trade policy that would serve as an imputes towards transforming
Africa’s future development.
"The AfCFTA is one of the milestone trade
policy developments in Africa which is expected to change the
way Africa does trade and catalyze transformation in a way trade
policy has not done before," the ECA said in a statement on
Noting the vital significance of continental
free trade agreement, ECA also urged its member countries to
commit themselves through the inclusion of the major pillars of
the agreement in their national policies, which the ECA stressed
as "crucial for the successful implementation" of the AfCFTA.
"Africa is set for massive transformation as
more countries are expected to sign-up and ratify the African
Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in 2019," ECA’s
statement quoted David Luke, African Trade Policy Center
Coordinator at the ECA as saying.
Luke, who recently led an ECA delegation to
the Intra-African Trade Fair that was held in Cairo, Egypt, said
"intra-African trade, free trade and investments catalyzed by
the AfCFTA will without doubt transform the African continent."
"Getting the AfCFTA right will depend on
getting the level of ambition that we have as a continent," he
Last week, an official at the African Union
(AU) told Xinhua that encouraging progress has been gained in
the implementation of the AfCFTA.
As the regional body drives efforts toward
realizing the AfCFTA, AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry
Albert M. Muchanga told Xinhua that major efforts are underway
to achieve an integrated African market of about 1.2 billion
A total of 49 of the AU’s 55 member states
have so far signed the AfCFTA agreement, and 13 countries have
ratified it, while 12 others are in advanced stages of obtaining
parliamentary approval for ratification, according to the AU.
A minimum of 22 ratifications are required for the AfCFTA to
come into force.