The Ambassador of the Economic Communityof West African States (ECOWAS) in Liberia, BabatundeAjisomo, hasurged Liberia and other African countries yet to ratify the AfricanContinental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to do so.
The AfCFTA is a trade agreement subsisting among 27 African Union member states. It was signed in Kigali, Rwanda on 21 March 2018. As ofJuly 2019, 54 states have signed the agreement but only 27 haveratified the document.
Speaking Monday at the start of a sensitization workshop on TradeProtocols and Agreements for the Private sector held at a local hotelin Monrovia, Amb. Ajisomo said thus far for the ECOWAS region, all memberstates have signed the AfCFTA agreement and 10 out of 27 ECOWAS memberstates have also ratified the agreement.He said 44 of 55 African countries signed the AfCFTA Agreement, adding that they have made progress since then.
Amb. Ajisomo said it is encouraging to note that signatories have risen to
54, saying that only the state of Eritrea is yet to sign theagreement.
He stated that the creation of single continental market for goods andservices, with free movement of business people and investment, wouldhelp to bring deeper integration and turn the 55 single Africaneconomic blocks into a more coherent, larger single market.
He pointed out that a larger and more viable economic space wouldallow African markets to function better and promote competition, aswell as resolve the challenges of multiple and overlapping regionaleconomic communities, thereby helping to boost intra-continentaltrade.
The regional envoy noted the sheer size of the single market would provide a more
conducive environment for industrial diversification and regionalcomplementarities.
He disclosed that the United Nations Economic Commission calculatesthat AFCFTA could increase intra-Africa trade by as much as US$35billion annually or 52 percent above the baseline.