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AU: the African Free Trade Area is born.

Leaders of Africa’s 55 countries make history

The leaders of Africa's 55 countries make history. They converged today in Kigali, Rwanda, to sign an agreement that will launch the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), according to the African Union. The launch of this agreement was signed during an extraordinary summit of African Union Heads of State convened by President Paul Kagame and the new Chairperson of AU, Paul Kagame, for whom AFCFTA is "a historical pact that has had almost 40 years of preparation and represents an important step forward for African integration and unity ". 

Meanwhile, the African Union Commission Chair, Moussa Faki, believes that the Free Trade Area will also strengthen Africa's position in world trade: "AfCFTA will make Africa one of the largest economies in the world and will strengthen its ability to interact on an equal footing with other international economic blocs ", emphasized the director of the AU. Yesterday government delegations have met the main African business leaders and other invited parties to exchange views on the continent's economic transformation through trade, on a special day of celebration and dialogue called "Business Meeting 'AfCFTA”. According to the note, the progressive liberalization of African trade in the next years will provide new opportunities for African companies to compete and cooperate with foreign companies, as well as build a continental cover. However, the President Kagame believes that the success of the AFCFTA will depend on closer collaboration between policy makers and the private sector. "We need active support of the private sector, in fact, without his voice something essential would be missing", said the Rwandan president. AfCFTA is a flagship project of Agenda 2063, the long-term vision of the African Union for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.

The Free Trade Area has the potential to transform the fortunes of millions of Africans, increasing trade ties between African nations. Currently, Intra-Africa trade stands at about 16%, compared with 19% intra-regional trade in Latin America, 51% in Asia, 54% in North America and 70% in Europe. The United Nations Economic for Africa estimates that the AfCFTA has the potential to boost intra-Africa trade by 53% by eliminating import duties and non-tariff barriers. This UN program also believes that the trade agreement could create an African market for over 1.2 billion people with a gross domestic product (GDP) of 2.5 trillion dollars. 

Source: The Italian Institute for Foreign Trade from the headquarters of Luanda.

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