Agreement to create the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) signed in Rwanda

On March 21, 2018, 44 of the 55 African Union member states gathered in Kigali, Rwanda, signed the AfCFTA with a view to creating a single market in the continent. Once the agreement is ratified by all signatories, the trade bloc to be created would encompass 1.2 billion people and over USD 2 trillion in combined GDP.

Countries agreed to remove tariffs on 90 per cent of goods and to liberalize services. Free movement of people and a single currency could be future developments. Signing of the agreement concluded the first phase of negotiations; countries will focus on the AfCFTA investment provisions in phase 2.

Among the countries that did not sign the agreement, Nigeria and South Africa indicated the need for broader consultations with their domestic stakeholders.